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The Amazing Women of the Manning

Previous Speakers

24 November 2016:

End of Year 11 celebrations – With Ruth Brown's 'retro' (50s, 60s and 70s) trivia teaser.


As we wrap up another successful and enjoyable year of net-working together, it was eyes down and concentrating as we were again entertained – and challenged, by our tradition of a trivia teaser prepared by our extraordinary Ruth Brown. This event has become a real draw card for everyone to look forward to with Ruth once again presenting us with a fun and extensively researched set of questions.

The theme of this year's quiz was “Retro – 50s, 60s and 70s”, and Ruth accompanied this with a great slide show of photos contributed by Netters showcasing fashion trends over the decades. This combination provided a great night of laughs, nostalgia and reminiscing. THANK YOU RUTH!

The festive season feeling was promoted well by the Wingham Services Club with lovely table decorations and providing us with a traditional seasonal menu to round off a very enjoyable evening.

We wish all our Netters the very best of the season and a joyous New Year. Hope to see you all in the coming Manning Net Year 12!

27 October 2016:

Laura Polson – 50th Taree Showgirl, and Manning Valley Ambassador.


You may know Laura as a journalist with the Manning River Times, but her chat with us focussed on her role as Taree Showgirl 2015. She shared her passion about the Manning Valley, reflecting on what she has achieved as Miss Taree Showgirl, and explain her motivation for entering 12 months ago. Her great respect for the show tradition, ethos and those behind it was very evident.


"Laura is such an inspiration!" This and similar sentiments have been heard whenever her name comes up. She is a very enthusiastic ambassador for the region – and keen to keep the motivation for promotion of the area ongoing and increasing, especially among the younger Valley residents.


Miss Taree Showgirl 2015:

22 September 2016:

Michael Eyb Tour Divide: 4,431.17km bike ride from Canada to the Mexican border.


In June 2015, Mick Eyb competed in the Tour Divide. Raced over 4,431kms, the Tour Divide is an ultra-endurance mountain bike race over mainly dirt roads and mountain passes along the U.S. continental divide from Banff in Alberta Canada to Antelope Wells in New Mexico USA. Mick completed this in 26 days! As an 'underground' race, this meant that Mick had to be totally self-sufficient for the entire length of his epic achievement.


Mick took on this challenge to help raise funds for his local mate Brendan Maloney – #teambrendanm, to help with his (ongoing) battle with cancer. We were honoured to have Brendan and his family, as well as his and Mick's parents, join us for the evening. Mick presented an enthralling account of his adventure from inception, planning, logistics, hardships, unforeseen challenges, and friendships forged along the way, right up until the finish line. His delivery kept us captivated, and although it is a challenge beyond most, we felt we were 'along for the ride' with him.


What an awesome effort and adventure.


25 August 2016:

Carl Muxlow – 'Daybreak on the Manning' Images


Carl shared his passion for photography in conversation style with his, until recently, colleagues from the Manning River Times – Toni Bell and Laura Polson. We saw some of the wonderful images that have formed his 'Daybreak on the Manning' photography series, as well as the variety of styles in his extensive body of work. Until June 2016, Carl had a 10-year association with the Manning River Times where his involvement in covering many events and incidents, helped to hone his skills in the art of telling a story via the composition and presentation of photographs.


Carl's future career in freelance photography has a solid base to build on judging from his approach to capturing that special image. Those he shared with us reinforced to us all that we live in a beautiful and varied natural environment.

28 July 2016:

Robyn Morrison and Robyn Bruce-Mullins – YMCA Brightside Program


The two Robyns informed us all about the Brightside Program, the support it offers participants and subsequent outcomes – physical, mental and social, which have been achieved as a result of participating in the program.


Robyn Morrison is the Community Development Officer for the YMCA Northern Region/Brightside Program Leader for the Manning and Great Lakes YMCA NSW, along with Robyn Bruce-Mullins who is also on the Brightside team. They both have backgrounds in working with people with complex issues and are committed to helping make a difference to people's lives who choose to improve their lifestyle choices through the program. YMCA Brightside is an exercise and wellbeing program for people with or at risk of Mental Illness. It was initiated by YMCA in Sydney in 2010, and in the Manning in 2013 – since then having had over 300 referrals to the program locally, and has been operating in 16 centres around NSW. They have witnessed some really great outcomes from the program and interest in it continues to grow.


Their presentation was informative, uplifting and delivered in an entertaining style. The girls and their team are an inspiration in the endeavour to assist a wide cross section of those in the community with a variety of challenges, as attested by some testimonials they shared on the night as well as the following:


“Brightside saved my life!” New friends, improved health, better sleep, increased energy, reduced medication, self-esteem and confidence have improved – all words which have been used by participants to describe their experience of completing the YMCA Brightside Program.

23 June 2016:

Dr Garry Hutchinson – Clinical Dean, Manning Rural Clinical School.

Garry enlightened us about our fantastic local training facility that is bringing Medical trainees to Rural areas, and encouraging them to return, once qualified, to bolster the rural medical workforce, and enhance Rural Health outcomes.


Taree is fortunate enough to have a Commonwealth funded Rural Clinical School (RCS) which is part of the University of Newcastle. We have all experienced the inequality of access and availability of health care which is part of living in rural or remote community. The RCS's are a creative strategy to have medical students, in their last years before qualifying as doctors, experience rural communities and look to a possible career in a rural setting. Medical students in 4th and 5th year spend the whole year doing all of their study and hospital training in Taree. There are 19 RCS's around Australia. This program is producing positive results with the students from Taree and Tamworth returning to work here as part of their Intern year when they qualify.


Recruitment of local High School students into Medical School at University of Newcastle is also an objective as it's known that these people generally return to work in rural settings.


Many netters were unaware of this great initiative being located in the Manning which is also a boon to the local economy.



26 May 2016:

Susan Duncan – Acclaimed Author – The moral courage, fervour and freedom that comes with ageing.

Susan's topic proved to be most entertaining – as anticipated, as this is the second time that Susan has been kind enough to visit us and share her wit and easy delivery.

She made us feel as though we were each sharing a personal encounter (very personal at times), in the telling of her and her husband's decision to fing some small rural acres as a winter retreat – with existing structure and facilities. The purchase of 250 very hilly undeveloped acres set them on a path of personal discovery, and very steep learning curve!  Now, after a "feral" early existence, they are settled in their 'off the grid' purpose-built home almost permanently as their existing 'summer' home on the Hawkesbury does not hold quite the allure as thier new found rural lifestyle.

Judging from the continual laughter of the attentive netters, the evening was a roaring success. Many are now eagerly awaiting the publishing of Susan's latest novel in August – look out for it!

28 April 2016:

Kristen Weber, Great Big Events – Senior Sports Presenter

Kristen hails from Wingham and is a long term employee of Great Big Events who have been responsible for Sport Presentation in more that 55 sports at an international and domestic level. They are internationally recognised as the world leader in Sport Presentation and in the production of cultural and ceremonial events. Based in Great  Big Events' Sydney Office, Kristen takes a leading role in the company and its event productions. She has worked all over the world delivering Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Championships.

Kristen Enlightened us with insights into what it takes to create, produce and run a single sporting event through to a world class spectacular such as the Olympic Games. From her perspective of Senior Sport Producer, we were treated to a first-hand account of behind the scenes planning and preparation through to the split second timing of the final production. Kristen shared examples of Sport Presentation foundation elements – music; video board; MCc; announcers; vision, audio and lighting; sponsor activations; special effects; sport protocols; and cultural nuance.

We were kept enthralled and gained a comprehensive understanding of the commitment required in delivering a seamless experience for an event audience.

24 March 2016:

George Hoad – Garden Clubs of Australia. GCA's new National President on some significant garden-themed anniversaries.

George, a gardener of great note in his own right, took us on a journey over 400 years of gardening history and evolution from Classic European design and some of the great English garden transformations under the master landscape designer Lancelot “Capability” Brown, to our own magnificent Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year.

His talk was accompanied by some wonderful images of English landscape gardens designed by Brown such as of Blenheim, Stowe, and Chatsworth, and illustrations of the early Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney – both externally sourced and from George’s own beautiful travel pictures. We learnt of the variations in focus on landscape and garden style over the centuries to the remarkable construction of the Garden Palace for the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879, to be tragically lost – along with a wealth of historic records and artefacts –  to fire just three years later, in 1882. The contemporary Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain remain a magnificent site for public enjoyment.

Having thought his talk was a little dry (which it certainly wasn’t!), George regaled us in closing with a rendition of “Roses of Picardy" from WW1 – 1916 and "You Made Me Love You” to fit with the latter era of his walk through history via the garden. Altogether, a very enlightening and entertaining evening!


25 February 2016:

Paul Allan – What did this local boy encounter through a 5-star international hospitality career before heading ‘home’ to Taree?  Well, we were enlightened with Paul's recounting of his career choices that have taken him along an interesting and fulfilling journey resulting in a very illustrious career.

"The story of a boy from Taree: Husband, dad, mate, sentimental tragic and passionate employee."

It was great to hear more in depth experiences from our "mate" at Club Taree who has looked after The Manning Net so well over the years. The near disastrous first hospitality position that came close to ending this career choice, became the catalyst to Paul's passion for ensuring that every aspect of an event and service role is of the highest quality possible. From looking after a huge range of personalities and dignitaries, to setting up unique and inspiring event experiences, Paul instilled in us his commitment to his job. But, at the heart of it all his love of Family and friends is his greatest passion, and that has enabled this community to benefit from his decision to return "home" to his role at Club Taree – a job that he "loves" – it shows!


2015 wrap up:

December 2015:

A special end of year event – donation to a very worthy cause:

Our budget, although always very tight throughout the year, was healthy enough to enable a small donation.

We met with two incredible women – Robyn & Robyn, at the Manning Aquatic Leisure Centre. They represented the team from Taree YMCA who are running the fantastic Manning "Brightside Program" which was initiated here. It has also been replicated in other YMCA centres and focuses on giving people with low self esteem and/or mental health issues to learn skills and an activity routine to help understand, deal with and overcome the challenges they face. 
Our small donation was enough to enable funding of one person through the program. We would like to encourage anyone interested to learm more about this great initiative via their web site:

The girl have indicated their willingness to be guest speaker at one of our meetings. Keep watch for our first half of 2016 meeting program to be published soon.

26 November 2015:

Our grand finalé for our 10th year!

As we wrap up another successful and enjoyable year of net-working together, we were again entertained – and challenged, by our tradition of a trivia teaser prepared by our extraordinary Ruth Brown, instead of hearing from a guest speaker.

The trivia theme this year was “Curiouser and Curiouser”. Ruth’s tip was that “things aren’t always what they seem”. Although themed from the famous quote – there were no quiz questions relating to Alice in Wonderland, although a few references were featured. We had to put on our thinking caps, but overall a fun night was had by all!

Wingham Services Club made us welcome in the Auditorium – our new location within the club from now on, and presented a festive atmosphere with table decorations that aligned with our 10th Anniversary commemoration. No, not the more commonly recognised "Diamond" Anniversary, but our choice of the alternate 'Tin' Anniversary. All guests received a gift tagged tin label that can be embossed/inscibed and used as a plant label, or tag for anything the imagination can conjure!

22 October 2015:

Debra Steber (Debbie) – Celebrant


Here Comes the Bride … and the Groom … and the Bridesmaids … and the Flower Girls and Page Boys and the Dog (ring bearers of course!)

Everyone loves a wedding! And 'Manning Netter' Debbie Steber gets to go to a wedding 2 or sometimes 3 times a week.

Debbie Steber is a highly regarded and respected Marriage and Funeral Celebrant who admits it helps to be a 'hopeless romantic' when it comes to creating ceremonies.

"No two Weddings or Funerals are alike … every one is a profoundly creative act, be it formal or frivolous, traditional or contemporary, conservative or crazy"

"My work as a celebrant is to help people mark life's milestones with ceremony – be it for birth, commitment, marriage or death … each is an act of our heart and is hugely emotional."

Debbie delivered a very entertaining and informative insight into the experiences and legal requirements of being a celebrant – complete with "tying the knot" demonstration with netters Kirsten (bride) Dunn and Ruth (groom) Brown. Lots of fun!  …. Debbie says it helps to be "in love" with her job.


24 September 2015:

Allison Alliston – Executive Principal Taree High School 

Connected Communities – Schools as pivotal hubs? Demystifying a new strategy to position schools as a pivotal hub in the community.

Allison Alliston is the Executive Principal of Taree High School, who has a passion for improving educational outcomes  and opportunities for all students. Her particular drive through Connected Communities, focuses on Aboriginal students and families as a way of Closing the Gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal student achievement in education. 

Allison discussed the implementation of the CC Strategy, the strategies and programs implemented so far and the successes or otherwise that have been realised to date.

The evening proved to be very informative and enlightening with those in attendance impressed with Allison's initiative, inspiration, dedication and engaging delivery.

27 August 2015:

Jude Conning has spent much time travelling and photographing off the beaten track, recently in regions beyond the arctic circle.

She held our interest with many stories and visual delights of the arctic including Iceland and Greenland and the Yukon where she has experienced ‘polar opposites’ to our local warm, green environment.

Her adventures have afforded her witnessing the awe inspiring Aurora Borealis, being hosted by local Inuit, and white knuckle riding across glaciers and treacherously icy terrain with a dog sledding team.



Jude with her local photo of

Mount Goonook




23 July 2015:

Jane Mackenzie shared with us a delightful account of her decision to make the transition from a busy London Career, leaving behind her established life, family and friends to settling in the Manning Valley. As she put it, her transition "from stressed out Londoner to happy, busy chambermaid!"

Jane moved to Australia in April 2014 with her husband Neil, a Cooma boy, and bought the most beautiful retreat in the Manning Valley (her words!) – Mansfield on the Manning. And, of course not without their two devoted canine companions Bob and Doug.

In the UK, Jane spent most of her career working for some of the great British retailers – as Marketing Director for Topshop & Principles and for 10 years as Head of Marketing for Marks & Spencer – where she ran the creative Studio of over 80 talented designers and planners.

Her presentation reflected her passionate approach to every stage of her life choices and was accompanied by some pictorial memorabilia associated with her journey.

She is now concentrating on making her particular little piece of paradise as welcoming and relaxing as possible for her guests.


26 June 2015:

Tanya Cross and Bob McDonell spoke about the background, creation, and ongoing care of The Wonderful Cattai Wetlands.

Tanya and Bob are part of the team who have been instrumental in transforming farm land north of Taree into a restored showcase of environmental repair.

From a landscape affected by Acid Sulfate Soils to an internationally recognised showcase site – as in the image below – now attracting new bird and wildlife, the wetlands have become a Manning Valley Hidden Gem.

Visit to find all the details of the range of facilities, location, opening hours and a wealth of information about this wonderfully successful project.

BoardwalkCattai Wetlands at Dusk

28 May 2015:

Can Assist – Manning Valley Branch Team represented by Leanne Newman, Melinda Oirbans, Lee Walters and incoming president Paul Allan, opened many eyes and ears to the amazing support that this branch offers the local region.

This dedicated and passionate team has grown out of involvement with the Cancer Council's "Girls' Night In" fundraisers, but wanted to assist more effectively at a local level. Supported by the Sydney based State administration office, all local branches are able to utilise every dollar raised within their home region.

Can Assist is a network of 51 unique branches across NSW operated by volunteers who live in the town they support. The Manning Valley branch of Can Assist commenced in October 2012 and since that time has been able to approve over 130 Financial Assistance Applications to local families. Following a cancer diagnosis, families can struggle with the associated costs. Can Assist offer a financial assistance program to help ease the burden during the cancer journey. Local volunteers undertake fundraising to support local families affected by cancer.

The upcoming fundraiser "Can Assist Manning Valley Comedy Gala" on Saturday 29 August may be a function to note in your diary as a way of supporting this enthusiastic team – and having some fun to boot!     |    Facebook:     |     Twiiter:\CanAssistNSW


24 April 2015:

Greg Blaze, local engineer, keen surfer and humanitarian – has travelled surfed and worked on four continents, most recently in war torn Somalia, assisting the United Nations in building infrastructure in “the most dangerous city on earth”, Mogadishu. Greg has since returned to his urban family life as a local government engineer. He has  written and published an account of his adventures, exploits and at times bizarre experiences, in his first book – “There are no waves in Mogadishu”, – with copies available on the night – signed by the author! Copies are also available at the Manning Valley Libraries (now with an additional copy donated on the night by The Manning Net via our regular netter, Librarian Cheryl).

Greg’s first-hand account, delivered with humour, of a dangerous but ultimately “good news story” kept everyone entertained, informed and enlightened. We were left with a depth of appreciation of the obstacles that can be faced and what is entailed in achieving good outcomes in the world's trouble spots.

Greg also displayed a selection of traditional Hats and Garments (Hat models below!). It was also a great opportunity for Greg and colleagues of old to catch up.


26 March 2015:

Maurie Garland,  From Gallipoli on: The contributions of Manning Valley Diggers.

As this year marks the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli, Maurie spoke of local involvement in and history of both the Gallipoli and the Western Front campaigns in World War 1. His enlightening talk illustrated the tremendous breadth and depth of his knowledge and the passion he has for his topic.

As always, the night was well supported by the dedicated team from the Manning Valley Historical Society.


26 February 2015:

Narelle Campbell, Four times Australian Antarctic Division Station Leader, shared video footage and insight into life from four years of living and working at each of the 4 Australian Antarctic Division Stations: Mawson, Casey, Macquarie Island and Davis.

Narelle Campbell has joined us each time she has returned as an ‘over winter’ Australian Antarctic Division Station Leader – most recently at Davis Station. She was also shortlisted for 2015 NSW Australian of the Year, which some of you may recall from local media articles.

Narelle's talk included some of her experiences, tales and amazing images and video (including entertaining footage produced for the local Antarctic Film Festival! – which they won) of time spent in this remote region that few ever have the opportunity to experience. She outlined the varied and multiple skills that the small over winter team are required to perform in order to maintain all the essential roles of any community – this one without a lifeline to the outside world. She also touched on some of the more challenging aspects of being responsible for a group of individuals living in very close quarters under extreme conditions. She was accompanied again by Gus “the wonder dog” who she adopted after an injury curtailed his working life in pest eradication on Macquarie Island, who again proved to be almost as popular as his 'mum' – exuding canine charisma.

The evening was a great start to our 10th season.


2014 Review:

Year 9 finale celebrations:

Our November gathering proved to be one of fun and frivolity with the always excellent and challenging trivia quiz prepared by our own Ruth Brown to wrap up the year, rather than a guest speaker for the night. The trivia theme this year was “Sparkles and Spangles". Netters rose to the theme and came appropriately attired in an array of sparkles spangles and bling! The venue was also beautifully decorated in Christmas sparkles and spangles. The trivia challenge ensured that fun was had by everyone, including a lot of conferring, and many of us learned a few new snippets of knowledge.

The last gathering in our 9th year was another successful event to finish off another great year.


20 October 2014:

The Cameron family from Killabakh have exceptional credentials to speak during this United Nations International Year of Family Farming. Ken and Jennie (one of our own netters) shared their experience and family history in farming after the family having continuously farmed in the Manning Valley for 160 years!

This talk on one of our most significant sectors of our community rounded out our year of great speakers, which has been largely themed on landmark celebrations, anniversaries and milestones across our community covering a variety of topics.

25 September 2014:

We were fortunate at our September meeting in having Sergeant Karen Owen APM as our guest speaker. Karen received the Australian Police Medal as part of the 2014 Australia Day Awards for 32 distinguished years of service to the NSW Police.
Netters listened with great interest – as attested to by the number of questions at the end – as Karen told us about her vast range of experiences within the NSW Mounted Police and what led her there in the first instance.
Karen joined the NSW Police and after the mandatory year on general duties, and became only the second female to join the NSW Mounted Police. As a female recruited to the oldest continuous mounted police force in the world, Karen became a pioneer in a very male dominated field.
Evolving from her love of horses, Karen has had many achievements during her career from becoming the first female officer to attain the rank of sergeant in the unit, to the unit achieving international acclaim leading to meeting the Queen in London, and performing riding the Queen’s own cavalry horses, as well as participating in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Karen told us that ‘if you love horses, it’s the best job in the world’.
Karen and her family became locals to the area two years ago and she now juggles her time between The Manning Valley and Redfern as a senior instructor with the NSWMP.
Clearly Karen is a credit to the force and to the Mounted Police in particular.


28 August 2014:

Our guest speaker for August was Ian Turner, Managing Director of Saxby’s Soft Drinks – an icon in the Manning Valley, and beyond – who are celebrating their 150th year of business and manufacturing in 2014. Ian is the great, great grandson of George Saxby who established George Saxby Aerated Water and Steam Works, Manning River in 1864. Ian spoke about the origins of the company as well as the pioneering and community spirit of his ancestors and the history of the company intertwined with that of the region. He outlined the genealogy of his own family's involvement with the company and community (including his own from his early teen years) as well as that of other multi generation and long serving identities. A display of historical company artefacts assisted the imagination in comprehending the evolution of methods and practices over the years. Ian also shared some insight into maintaining relevance in an ever-changing environment and the ever more importance of support within local communities.


24 July 2014:

As a special event for the year, our meeting was held at the Manning Regional Art Gallery with Peter Schouten, local internationally renowned wildlife artist, amidst his latest exhibition “Manning Wild” – about the animal species that are specifically from the Manning Valley. The venue also displayed exhibitions by 3 other great artists which provided a wonderful environment to enjoy an exceptional evening hearing Peter’s fascinating talk following delicious food and drinks service provided by Dusty Walkom and the FOGs (Friends Of the Gallery) team. Coffee & tea were accompanied by a selection of very tasty treats by Miss Megan & Co.

Peter is also an author, natural history illustrator and paleontological illustrator who has been living and working in Bobin for 12 years. Peter was recently awarded the Visual Arts award in the 2015 Manning Visual and Performing Arts Awards, so we were quite honoured to have him as our guest speaker in our great local Art Gallery – his natural environment as the Manning Regional Gallery Artist-In-Residence!

Now on his 12th book, Peter has published some of Australia’s most outstanding wildlife publications. He has co-written books with Dr Tim Flannery and Stephen Taylor as well as producing the book Megafauna which was a collaboration with Dr. Ross MacPhee. Peter's works are featured in the collections of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, the Natural History Museum in New York, the Naturalis Museum in Holland and in David Attenborough’s private collection. He is quite famous for his paleo recreation of the Red Deer Cave Hominid from China and also the Hobbit from Flores.

We are grateful for the efforts of all those involved at the Gallery for their part in creating such a memorable evening.


26 June 2014:

Books were featured again this month, but with an entirely fresh, and local, perspective. Debbie Horgan and Mindy Avery and Kate Fazio jointly presented a talk about their initiative for an ongoing community based program to develop a series of local stories helping young Aboriginal children to connect the past with the present and educate them in terms that are relevant to them, while also continuing the Aboriginal tradition of story telling. The first collection of "real stories from real people", Our Words Our Stories gave 12 local Aboriginal people the opportunity to be authors with the books produced being donated to school libraries of the Manning Valley. The result is a wonderful collection of books which have given the authors and readers alike, insight and pride about their stories and publication.


22 May 2014:

Zambian born Dorothy Makasa was our special guest as part of her visit to the area to participate in the "Africa comes to the Manning" festival. Dorothy spent much of her visit presenting school workshops during the week long festival. Dorothy is a poet, writer and storyteller and took time out to speak with us and share insights about her early years in Zambia and her journey that ultimately brought her to Australia, and of her work an as education officer for Catholic Mission, her involvement as a social change activist and her work with an education project in Zambia.


21 April 2014:

Shelleyrae Cusbert and Nicky Stevens shared their love of books and how they identify with the quote ‘She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.’ as penned by Louisa May Alcott. Their specific respective involvement with proof reading and running a book store and many other facets of their passion made for an very interesting and entertaining presentation.


24 March 2014:

Barbara Waters: Evolution of the Manning Valley Historical Society over 50 years. Barbara informed us about the 50th Anniversary of the Society in the Manning Valley. She explained how the MVHS has evolved during its 50 years of existence in the Valley, and has become more business-like in its operation. She highlighted celebrations and events that are planned during May to commemorate this milestone, as well as other services that the Society/Museum offers to the public.


27 February 2014:

Our first gathering for 2014 turned out to be one of our all time highest attendances just tipping 100! Kerrie Moran and Amy Heague had the “crazy idea” to cycle across Cambodia to FUN(draise) for the organisations that they were already supporting there, and to raise awareness on human trafficking. “Cycle4Cambodia” became a reality. 19 ladies completed a 250 km bicycle trek from Siem Reap through Phnom Penh to Kep on the south coast and included some welcome and life changing volunteer work along the way. Their stories of the experience of planning and completing their goal provided us with eye opening insight into this largely ignored and unacknowledged blight on an otherwise generously spirited people. The bonus of creating a fun, though often arduous time among the group made for some hearty laughs. The $30,000 raised highlights the success of their bold venture.




Further information can be sourced via these links: |

And information on the 2014 trip!:


2013 Review …..

End of Year Donation:

The budget is always kept very tight throughout the year, however we managed to have a modest amount that we were able to donate to a worthy recipient.

This year the decision was made to donate to the local Salvation Army. 
We met Danielle at the Taree branch in mid December to add our contribution to their much needed Christmas funds.

2013 FINALE – 28 November 2013:

Our farewell to 2013 in November was celebrated with another brilliant trivia teaser with an Australiana theme compiled & delivered by Ruth Brown, along with a few little treats and prizes.

Wingham Services Club created a wonderful Christmas theme for the festivities, the evening was abuzz with chatter and the year was wrapped up on a great note.

24 October 2013



At our second last get together for the year, the October Manning Net guest speaker was a regular 'netter Bev Petterson.

Before becoming a Wingham local Bev managed a tourist resort on Tanna Island and welcomed many visitors and adventure seekers to the island paradise.

Bev however knows the other side of life on Tanna Island for the locals that live under the Vanuatu village laws and it is this side of her time on the island she revealed to us.


26 September 2013


Julie-Ann Booth – a lady that is used to a fast paced life was our guest in September.

Julie is a private chef, she has had the honour and responsibility of cooking for the Royal Family and Australian billionaires. We met Julie at the Wingham Services Club where she shared tales from her travels and adventures around the world, and even hinted at a few celebrity secrets!


22 August 2013

RichardP   RichardP_SydSuperDome  

Richard Polkinghorne is a development manager, he spoke on his experiences delivering ‘mega-projects’ in Australia, The Middle East and Asia.

Richard’s skills have taken him from developing the Sydney SuperDome to Hotels, golf courses, housing estates and offices in Dubai and Cairo, and a new City in Southern Malaysia. We caught him now as he is back in Australia working on a south coast project. His presentation at Club Taree detailed the international networks that come together to conceive, finance, design and deliver these projects and the technology that makes it all possible.


25 July 2013

Our mid-winter Manning Net guest was Inspector Christine George who enlightened us with snippets of experiences from her long police career. Christine promotes the belief of placing police into the community so that they are visible.  She shared her personal trials and tribulations and her decision to return to the Manning Valley a couple of years ago to continue her police career locally.


Earlier in 2013…

27 June 2013

Christine Beech spoke inspiringly about the beauty & story of a 2012 walk along Spain’s renowned Camino de Santiago

30 May 2013

Rosemarie Longworth gave a personal perspective on returning to a country fled over 60 years ago during war time

2 May 2013

Narelle Campbell shared experiences and photos from her year as the Macquarie Island Antarctic Division Station Leader

28 March 2013

Carolyn McFarland's talk was entitled ‘Schooled Out’ : This architect’s perspective on five school projects

28 February 2013

Brendan Guiney informed us about Mid Coast Water’s overseas project work in under-developed countries