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