President's Column | September 17

With the Dungog Shire Spring calendar of events well underway there is no better time to make the most of these visitors and enthusiasts in town, keep your doors open and embrace a great opportunity to showcase your business and the Dungog Shire.  Not only do these festivals and events bring a significant amount of money into our local economy they attract people who might otherwise never visit the area.

Just some of the events coming up are Dungog Pedalfest 20-22 September presented by Dungog Rotary for more info head to . Dungog Art Society Annual Exhibition will be held at the Festival Lounge from 27 September to 7 October head to  Dungog Festival 4-7 October. This 4 day event includes something or everyone including the legendary long table dinner, music, markets and a street parade. For more info head to Sculpture on the Farm, an exhibition of Australian Sculpture displayed in garden, paddocks and galleries on a rural property will run in conjunction with the Dungog Festival from 4-7 October. For more info head to Clarence Town River Country Hoedown will be held on 26 October, family friendly festival in the heart of Clarence Town. For more info head to

The next DDCC dinner network meeting will be held at the Flying Duck at Vacy.  Member and guests are welcome to attend. Our monthly networking evenings and social events offer an ideal platform for meeting, discussing and promoting business services and products. These meetings are also a great way to connect with and meet people from all around the Dungog Shire and beyond. This month, newly appointed Manager Business Strategy and Investment, Mr Jakob Gray from Dungog Shire Council will be attending our meeting. To book head to

President's Column | August 12

Three Board members from Dungog Regional Tourism (DRT) took a familiarisation tour of the Chichester State Forest of Dungog Shire with Mike Hill, Partnerships Leader, Forestry Corporation of NSW. I attending the tour in my capacity as a Board Member of DRT and President of the DDCC. Board Chair Dr Cameron Archer, Ivan Skaines from Gresford and myself had the privilege of hearing first hand some of the challenges facing the organisation, including anti-social behaviour, high visitor numbers in certain times of the year such as long weekends and holiday period and a very tight budget which also has to stretch over other contingencies such as the upcoming fire season.

As some of you would know, Chichester State Forest is divided into two distinct areas, the western side centred on the Allyn River and the eastern side centred on the Telegherry River.  Part of the reason for our tour was to inspect camping sites across the two areas and Mike explained the Corporation’s plans for upgrading, including separating campers and cars in some of the sites, improved drainage and a new toilet at Frying Pan Creek. Most of these works are part of the $1.33 million grant Dungog Regional Tourism Inc secured under the NSW government's Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund to boost camping and outdoor recreation across the Dungog Shire.

Highlights of the day were lookouts on Mt Allyn, which had fantastic views to Muswellbrook and to the north towards Careys Peak and to south, and another along Skimmings Gap Road which had views over the Dungog area towards Kooragang Island, as well as the popular Ladies Well in the Upper Allyn.

We also had the opportunity to inspect sites where work has been performed by The Friends of Chichester, a volunteer group in partnership with Forest NSW is to help redevelop the walks, look outs and points of interest in the Chichester State Forest

So, thanks to Mike for taking us up through the State Forests and it will of enormous value to us and Dungog Regional Tourism into the future. You are to be commended on the great work you do with limited resources. My fellow board members and I really enjoyed it and appreciated your time and honest commentary on the sites, your challenges and your aspirations.

DDCC firmly believe tourism is everyone’s business and so important to our local economy. Every dollar coming into the tourism industry is directly related to a boost in local spending.

Congratulations to the organisers of the Dungog Tea Party. I have been advised hundreds of entries arrived for the Tea Cosy Challenge and Trivet Competition. Buses full of visitors have booked to come each day to the exhibition so it is going to be wonderful opportunity to showcase your business. It’s not too late to jump on board and plan some special activities for your business or organisation.

The event runs from Tuesday 20th August at 11am until Sunday 25th August. It is shaping up to be a huge event. Tea cosies, trivets, unique teapots and a number of other tea related products will be on display at the James Theatre from 10am to 4pm daily. A student artwork display will be Lovey’s IGA together with a number of other great activities.

Jennifer Lewis - President

President's Column | July 29

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce will be held at The Settlers Arms Cnr Brown and Lord Streets, Dungog on Thursday 22 August, 2019 at 6.30pm. Dinner will be available following the meeting at a cost of $30.00 per head


In accordance with the Constitution of the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, to be eligible for nomination to office or to vote in the election process, you must be a current member of the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce. Subscription renewals were recently issued and we request that you attend to payment of your membership subscription at your earliest convenience, if you haven’t already done so. 


If you are a current financial member and feel you would like to contribute your experience, skills and time as a Committee Member to help continue to shape the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce as a valued service for businesses within the District, please contact me on 0432 128 143


Bookings are essential for dinner. To book head to


Following an initial announcement last year I have now received an update regarding the NSW Government, Easy to Do Business Service. 


In 2018 the NSW Government introduced Easy to do Business, a free service offered across a range of industries, that gives you personalised help and support when starting or expanding a small business .Easy to do Business also provides the support of a dedicated personal Business Concierge to help guide customers through the process, answer their questions, liaise with agencies, and review their applications.


The programme now has a dedicated Relationship Manager for the Hunter North Region, which includes Dungog, Craig Aspinall M 0437 041 194 .Craig has indicated he is happy to speak to anyone requiring assistance. This assistance extends to not only starting a new business but extending an existing business.


There has also been further industries added to the portal which now includes:  cafe, restaurant or small bar, housing construction, clothing retail business, print business and road freight transport business. Head to to visit the Easy to Do Business website.


And a reminder … Vote for My Community Project and help support local Dungog Shire projects which will benefit our local community.  There is up to $260,000 is available for every NSW electorate.  More than 1,500 ideas have been put forward including upgraded sports facilities, all-abilities playgrounds and multicultural events.


Voting closes 15 August. Successful projects will be announced in September.  Head to  to cast your vote


Kind Regards,



Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President's Column | June 20

The Dungog District Chamber of Commerce is an independent voluntary representative organisation for the Dungog Shire Business Community.

We welcome as members, all large and small businesses and individual operators who aim to enhance their own business opportunities and who recognize the value of working collectively through the Chamber to create optimal quality-of-life for the local community as a whole. Each year the Chamber attempts to facilitate a number of events, initiatives and promotions.


We also strive to support and represent our member’s business interests and provide a range of services which includes providing timely and reliable information to our members, promoting Dungog and Districts as a destination for new business and encouraging spending on goods and services available locally.


Our monthly networking evenings and social events, hosted at venues throughout the Dungog Shire and featuring a guest speaker, offer an ideal platform for meeting, discussing and promoting business service and products.

As Chamber Alliance members through the NSW and Hunter Business Chambers, members are also able to receive a number of added benefits free of charge. 


Funding for the DDCC comes almost entirely from membership and to continue to make the Chamber work we ask that you continue to support us by renewing your membership. Membership renewals will be issued shortly. If you are not a member and wish to find our more head to our website Or contact me at


After a break in June our dinner meetings will recommence in July. The July meeting will be held on Thursday 18 July, 2019 at 6.30pm at Stella Bistro, Dowling Street Dungog. Cost will be $30.00 per had and our guest speaker will be Tim Norris from Restart IT. Members and guests are welcome so to book head to




Kind Regards,



Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President’s Column | June 12

Glorious winter weather saw locals and visitors out and about throughout the Dungog Shire over the long weekend. Businesses throughout the Shire have reported good trade, particularly on Saturday. Businesses from Vacy, Gresford, Paterson, Clarence Town and Dungog have all reported particularly high numbers of visitors, which is great news.

The good weather also helped to attract a good number of people to camp around the Shire.

There are also a number of other events coming up over the next few months and these are listed at  Or for information contact the Dungog Shire Visitor Information Centre by phoning 4992 2212 or by email at

I had the opportunity to catch up with Michelle Dado-Millynn who is part of the Single Use Plastic Free Dungog Team this week. The team are focused on providing alternatives, best practice recycling and closed loop solutions and are asking the business community to work with them to proactively reduce waste, choose reusable and recycle best practice. There is currently a wonderful opportunity to put a spotlight on the Dungog Shire  in more ways than one by becoming a role model regionally, nationally and beyond. Dungog Shire Council and many local businesses are already on board, with responsible and sustainable best practices. 

The business community is key in their support and involvement to choose to recycle best practice & provide and use alternatives to single use plastics where they can. If we work together we can set a fantastic example for others to follow. Yellow lid recycling bins, Return & Earn drop off, soft plastics and take away coffee cup recycling will all be in place. Council will be installing a water refill station in Dungog with a plan for more to be installed throughout the Shire. These will encourage people to use refillable reusable water bottles rather than disposable plastic water bottles. We are working hard to make choosing reusable as easy as possible for the community to support and practically choose to do. 

One of the most urgent environmental issues for the planet is the enormous amount used (largely just once) of single use plastics; bags, straws, bottles, t/a coffee cups, cutlery & containers

For more information about this initiative and how your business can be involved contact Michelle at

President's Column | June 2

Our congratulations and many thanks to all who participated in this year’s Dungog District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. This year’s programme was an outstanding success with another record year of nominations. It is encouraging to see yet another strong year of nominations, proving local business is thriving in the community.


Once again this year, our nominations reflected a growth in new businesses which is exciting and shows a growth in the diversity of the local business community in response to changing demographics.  We continue to see exceptional growth in the new business category, in particular over the last few years which reflects what’s happening in the Dungog Shire.


There’s such a diverse range of businesses nominated overall, it’s testament to our tightly knit community spirit and strong support for local business. There also appears to be an ongoing trend of decentralized business, work from home etc. etc.  Some real opportunities for small communities like the Dungog Shire to prosper, provided the right infrastructure and services are available.


The awards programme culminated with our awards presentation at the Clarence Town School of Arts Hall when over 150 gathered together to celebrate the achievements of our business community , community organisations and individuals from throughout the Dungog Shire. These awards are a wonderful opportunity to celebrate excellence in the local business and volunteer community and showcase their success.


This year it was our great honour to announce that our Community Sector Award will now be named the Colleen Duffy Community Service Award. This award will now be a tribute to our wonderful, inspiring friend and colleague Colleen Duffy who sadly passed away earlier this year. Colleen’s contribution to the community and work as a volunteer will never be forgotten. This year the award went to Clarence Town Community First Responders. This year we were also pleased to announce Ros Runciman as our 2019 inductee to the Hall of Fame. For a full list of winners and runners up please head to our website


Finally, these annual awards raise awareness of the contribution local businesses bring to the community and reward those who have provided great service throughout the year. Without our generous sponsors and members they would not be possible. If you would like to find out more about the awards click here.

President's Column | May 7, 2019


Nominations for the 2019 Dungog District Chamber of Commerce Business Awards have now closed. Celebrating 13 years in 2019 these awards offer the community an opportunity to reward business and individuals in the Dungog Shire who have stepped up to the plate, provided good quality service and promoted the Dungog Shire. These awards offer the opportunity for all businesses, not just Dungog District Chamber members, to be nominated and recognised. Our process involves members of the community, such as you, to nominate in 12 categories businesses, individuals and community organisations, which we believe is the essence of the success of these awards.


The awards would not be possible of course without the continued support of our valued sponsors including our major sponsor the Dungog Chronicle. Also, this year we are delighted to announce our major sponsor The Dungog Chronicle, will present to the winner of the Overall Business Excellence category an advertising package with the Dungog Chronicle which is valued in excess of $5,000.00. This is in addition to the winner’s trophy presented at the awards ceremony.


This year 415 separate nominations that converted to 148 discrete business or individual nominations were received. A full list of the nominees is available in this edition of the Dungog Chronicle and is also available on our website  Judging will now commence with winners and runners up announced on the 18th May, 2019. The process includes consideration of the comments on the nomination form together with enquires to selected businesses, individuals and organisations. The results are not formulated by how many nominations businesses individuals or organisations receive, but on merit.


Our winners in selected categories, also have the opportunity to proceed to the Hunter Business Chamber Awards and then to the NSW State Business Awards. This offers these business the opportunity to showcase their business and the Dungog Shire to the region and then, possibly the State.


This year, the awards program will culminate in a gala awards presentation evening at the Clarence Town School of Arts Hall on 18th May, 2019 when the winners and runners up will be announced.  This evening brings together members of the community to celebrate their achievements over the last year and everyone is welcome to attend. If you would like to join us, or perhaps make a group booking for your business, tickets are $65.00 per head and can be reserved by going to or emailing

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