President's Column | April 10, 2019

In today’s world there seems little option but to adopt the use of social media.  Volunteer non-profits such as Dungog District Chamber of Commerce (DDCC) benefit greatly from the opportunity to be able to promote our members and our events together with business and community news and events from the Dungog Shire and further afield.

While social media platforms allow for organisations to efficiently engage with their target audience, they also allow users to easily become the targets of reputational attacks, such as unfounded complaints or smear campaigns. Trolls or cyber bullies sometimes labour under the misapprehension that they can say and do what they want online. Examples of trolling include posting repeated comments on message boards or news articles, attacking someone’s character and/or invading their privacy or comments designed to provoke argument. Trolls or cyber bullies sometimes labour under the misapprehension that they can say and do what they want online.

Recently the DDCC decided to ban a number of people from posting comment on the DDCC Facebook page.  This followed a number of negative, unnecessary and irrelevant comments which fell well below what we believe to be an acceptable community standard. Whilst we do support free speech we do not support trolls and cyber bullies and  will not support use of our social media page as a platform for their own agenda.

Together with many others, DDCC is a volunteer group of local business people who are passionate about supporting and maintaining local business within our beautiful Shire. If you are uncertain of the work we do or perhaps you feel you would like to make a contribution to work we do, feel free to contact me or a member of our committee, details of which can be found on our website .We also welcome enthusiastic, thought-provoking individuals to join our committee and of course new members are always welcome for an annual fee of $100.00.

Nominations are rolling in for this year’s Business Awards. To nominate head to our website or pick up a nomination form in many businesses throughout the Shire. This year our 12 categories open for nomination recognize businesses, organizations and individuals who have provided outstanding service throughout the year. The categories also include the popular Hall of Fame award which recognizes people who have made a significant contribution to business over a number of years. Nominations close on 17 April, 2019 with our presentation evening on 18 May at the Clarence Town School of Arts Hall. The award are open to all businesses and organizations in the Dungog Shire.

President's Column | March 20, 2019


Vale- Colleen Duffy

It is with great sadness that Dungog District Chamber of Commerce learned over the weekend of the passing of our long-time committee member, collelague and very close friend Colleen Duffy from Clarance Town.

Not only an instrinsic part of the chamber committee, our wonderful and inspiring Colleen was held in high regards by all who had the pleasure of knowing and working with her. Her many volunteer roles included Executive Committee of the Clarence Town Progess Association and President of the Clarence Town School of Arts Hall committee. Colleen was also pivotal in the establishment of Boomerang Bags, Clarence Town.

Colleen’s effort, time and dedication in all these roles is immeasureable, but together with her husband Michael, her love and care of Clarence Town School Arts Hall will always be truly inspirational in my mind. Colleen, Michael and her committee worked tirelessly to bring the School of Arts Hall to life, improving the facilities and making it a focus of community life in the town. Improvements and develpment of the hall were only due to the commitment of Colleen and the volunteer committee with grant applications and fundraisers.

A very typical example of Colleen’s work is recent highly successful and sold out Small Halls Festival event held at the Clarence Town School of Arts on January 30. Colleen worked with the organisers of the Small Halls Festival to bring the event to Clarence Town, and to work out the actual logistics of staging the event including organising local entertainers to take part in the concert. She also worked with a team of local volunteers to provide refreshments, decorate the hall and take photgraphs of the event.

Colleens’s firm hand and straight talking manner, together with her compassionate and sensible approach, established her as a respected community leader and strong advocate for the town of Clarence Town, which she loved so much. Colleen was also passionate about maintaining the connection between the towns of Clarence Town and Dungog. Her representation for Clarence Town businesses and organisations Shire wide and further afield also did not go unnoticed.

In 2017 Colleen received the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Award.

Our wonderful, beautiful, intelligent and sassy Colleen Duffy: we are going to miss you. You were truly a role model for us all.

Our deepest sympathies to her husband Michael: and her family and friends.

Jennifer Lewis

President- Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President's Column | March 6, 2019

 Matt Lewis Photo

As reported elsewhere in this edition of the Chronicle the news of the closure of Williams River Holiday Park at Clarence Town came as a shock to not only the Clarence Town community but the Dungog Shire Community.  In essence, the Chamber has written to Dungog Shire Council on behalf of our member businesses seeing clarification on a number of matters. We are keen to hear from Council about the options being considered for the future of the Park given its importance for local businesses, and events held in Clarence Town each year. The Chamber is also keen work with Dungog Regional Tourism to ensure the $93,000 grant for the park, which was part of the overall $1.3million received to improve outdoor tourism can still be used for the park which is an important community asset.


Members and guests recently met at the Dungog Memorial RSL our meet the candidates evening. All candidates for the upcoming State Election attended presenting their policies and addressing our audience on matters that they considered important to the Dungog Shire. The evening was a success with candidates remaining for questions afterwards and some joining us for a meal at the RSL afterwards.


Congratulations to the organising Committee for Sculpture on the Farm who have received funding under the Destination NSW Incubator Event Fund. The Fund is a Destination NSW program that offers seed funding to events in Regional NSW to support their first and second years of activity.   The event will be held over the October Long Weekend 2019.  Unfortunately, the Dungog Tea Party, which will be held 20-25 August 2019, were unsuccessful in their application.


As I have said before, both these events, and almost all other events held across the Shire each year, are organised by volunteer committees and will do much to encourage spending in local businesses, bring visitors to the Shire and promote Dungog Shire to the wider community.  This week the autumn event calendar across the Shire kicks off with the holding of the first major event, the Gresford Show on Friday, 8 March and Sunday, 9 March.


Our next dinner network meeting will be held at the Clarence Town Bowling Sport and Recreation Club on Thursday 21st March,, 2019. Our guest speaker will be Coralie Nichols General Manager of Dungog Shire Council. To book contact Colleen Duffy email or telephone 0400 603403.



New sign for Lioness Park

Article by Michelle Mexon

Article by Michelle Mexon

There’s a welcoming new sign for visitors coming in to Dungog from the south.

The $20,000 sign in Lioness Park replaces one which was already in disrepair and further damaged in the April 2015 storms forcing council to remove it.

Dungog District Chamber of Commerce President Jennifer Lewis said the chamber had been researching funding options to replace the sign since it was first damaged.

At this year’s Chamber Business Awards, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald announced the chamber would receive a $19,662 grant from the Premiers Rural and Regional Fund.

"We wanted the content of the sign to say far more than welcome to Dungog so we set about the challenge of designing a new sign,” said Ms Lewis.

The easy-to-read sign shows a current map of the shire which was adapted from the Dungog Drives brochure which shows the horseshoe map.

Information and attractions in each village of the shire is detailed and there are photographs by young photographer Aithyn Grove and Ros Runciman.

“The content was developed by the chamber committee with the invaluable assistance of Ivan Skaines, Economic Development and Tourism Officer Dungog Shire Council and Dr Cameron Archer, Chair of DRT,” said Ms Lewis.

The design is by Danthonia Signs, erected on concrete footings with a cover over head and solar panels to ensure it is illuminated at night.

“The sign has been strategically placed with consultation from the Lionesses so as not to obscure the view of the existing iconic Dungog sign and complements the banners which were erected earlier this year,” she said.

The grant funding had to be used by the end of this year and with just a few weeks to spare the new sign was erected late last week.

“A number of projects have finally come to fruition for the chamber this year including this sign,” said Ms Lewis.

“We are very proud of what we have achieved.

“We look forward to working with the Community, Council and the Lioness Club of Dungog to developing a master plan to further enhance Lioness Park”.



We are pleased to announce that the Chamber in conjunction with Dungog Shire Council will present the Dowling Street Christmas Party on Wednesday, December 5 from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Last year’s success, beyond a doubt, was built on community engagement. Businesses, community associations, schools, churches, volunteers and individuals all came together and offered a positive shared family experience. It was so good we just have to do it again and this time, make it even better.

We really want to make this a community inclusive event with a focus on promoting local businesses and community organisations, encouraging community support, and of course verychild-friendlyy. Come along and join in the fun. Businesses are being encouraged to extend their trading hours and the event will coincide with the IGA Food and Wine Fair and Combined Churches Carols at the James Theatre.



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Way back in 2017 Dungog District Chamber of Commerce applied for a grant through the NSW Community Building Partnership to install streetscape banners for our community advertise events and celebrations. Our original grant application was for the banners to be erected in Dowling Street. Unfortunately, only partial funding was received, however not to be beaten we used our funding and relocated our banners to Lioness Park. Finally today our first banners went up. Our thanks to Dungog Shire Council, in particular, Ivan Skaines and Dungog Shire Events for helping with the project. Also many thanks to Col Norman for hanging them.

If you would like to advertise your community event or celebration please contact me at or Ivan Skaines at