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.



President's Column | January 20, 2019

The Chamber is pleased to announce that we will present a "Meet the Candidates" Forum on Thursday 28th February 2019 at the Dungog RSL to allow local voters the opportunity to meet candidates who have enrolled for the upcoming NSW State Election.

All known candidates have been extended an invitation and are expected to attend .The forum will allow each candidate to present their platform, where they stand on key issues and what they hope to achieve for the Dungog Shire.

Members and guests are welcome to attend however you must reserve your seat for the forum by emailing or registering

Guest are encouraged to remain after the forum for a meal or drink to catch up the candidates one on one.

I have been very pleased over the last couple weeks to be able to provide letters of support on behalf of the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce to the Committees organising the Sculpture on the Farm and the Dungog Tea Party for their applications for funding under the Incubator Event Fund. The Dungog Tea Party will be held 20-25 August 2019 and the Sculpture on the Farm over the October Long Weekend 2019.

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 fund supports innovative events that demonstrate sound organisational planning, have a unique alignment with the character and culture of the local region and which can demonstrate a broad appeal likely to promote tourism and attract overnight visitation.

Both these events 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.

These and other events organised by teams of volunteers across the Shire do much to attract visitors to our area, and are also of interest to locals and it was a pleasure to offer these letters of support.

Preparations are also underway for this year’s Business Awards. The awards will take place on Saturday 18th May, 2019 and will once again recognise excellence in business over fourteen categories. Sponsorship opportunities will open soon and we look forward to bringing the awards to the community.

President's Column | January 6, 2019

Happy New Year to everyone and I hope you all enjoyed and continue to enjoy a busy and prosperous holiday season.

It’s been great to see visitors flocking the Dungog Shire over the last couple of weeks, even with extremely high temps there has been a steady stream of holiday makers and day trippers many stopping, shopping, eating and stocking up. All of this contributes to the local economy.

Wendy Farrow from the Dungog Shire Visitor Information Centre has reported solid visitation to the VIC with about 265 people in five day period between Thursday, 26 December and Monday, 31 December 2018. Numbers have also been high in the New Year with enquiries mainly in relation to camping and swimming spots.

Mike Hill, Partnerships Leader, Forestry Corporation of NSW (FCNSW) has provided Dungog Regional Tourism and Dungog Shire Council with estimates of visitation to the Chichester State Forest over the Christmas-New Year period.

Mike and his colleagues conducted a four day blitz in the Upper Allyn precinct from Saturday, 29 December 2018 to Tuesday 1 January 2019. The figures provided by Mike show that there were 668 vehicles entering the forest (previous year comparison 362 vehicles over 3 days), which is 38% increase in vehicle numbers (daily average). This relates to 1,905 individuals entering the forest over this 4 day period (previous year comparison 1,054 individuals over 3 days), which is 36% increase in daily visitor numbers. About 30% of visitors were campers and the balance day visitors, and this proportion is fairly consistent with last year, and the majority were family groups.

FCNSW officers and field staff have been working very hard to address anti-social behaviour in the forests, and in particular in the Upper Allyn with an entry/check point near the Upper Allyn village.

Policing has also been increased including police on trail bikes and some policing paid for by FCNSW. The report from Mike clearly shows that visitor behaviour is improving but of course continued vigilance is no doubt necessary, visitor numbers are increasing and Forestry Corporation of NSW efforts and policies are working.

The Board of Dungog Regional Tourism has supported FCNSW in their endeavours and has applied for funding under the NSW Regional, Growth, Environment and Tourism Fund to further this partnership, along with the improvement in other publicly owned camping facilities across the Shire.

Camping, without a doubt seems to be the preferred method of vacation these days.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank Ivan Skaines for this continued support to the DDCC during his employment with Dungog Shire Council in his role as Economic Development and Tourism Officer. Ivan has contributed regularly to this column together with our many Chamber promotions and initiatives over many years, for which we are very grateful.

President's Column | December 17, 2018


What a wonderful success. The Dowling Street Christmas Party showed community spirit at its best. A sincere thank you to everyone who participated and came along. Working together we can do amazing things and a great message to remember as we head into 2019.

And some good news has been circulating about our train timetables.

Michael Johnsen MP, Member for Upper Hunter has announced that starting in April next year, departure and arrival times for several weekday journeys will be moved to give customers greater flexibility when planning day trips to and from the Lower Hunter, which should also assist with encouraging people to visit our Shire.

For locals wanting to visit either Maitland or Newcastle for either shopping or services, the existing morning trains will remain. However, there will be a reinstatement of the mid-afternoon service so that people can return to (say) Paterson around 2.20 pm and Dungog around 2.50 pm or they can return home on the existing later afternoon train services.

Day visitors to the Shire will be able to use the existing train service and arrive in the Shire mid-morning (for example 9.20 am for Paterson and 9.50 am for Dungog) and leave again mid-afternoon (3.55 pm for Paterson and 3.26pm from Dungog). This would give visitors (such as walking and other interest groups) more than five and a half hours in the Shire for activities and lunch, they will be able to leave the Lower Hunter at a reasonable time in the morning and still be able to make it home before dark, which is especially of concern for some visitors during winter.

For those people wanting to come to Dungog or depart town in the middle of the day, it is still possible via the XPT. An XPT arrives from Sydney around 10.45 am each day, and another Sydney bound XPT arrives from the North Coast around noon.

A number of people have been involved in assisting with achieving this outcome including Michael Johnsen MP, Member for the Upper Hunter, The Hon. Scot Macdonald, MLC, Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Tracy Norman, Mayor, Dungog Shire, Allen Shrimpton, Dungog Common Recreation Reserve Trust and Committee member Dungog District Chamber of Commerce, and Ivan Skaines, Council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Events Co-ordinator. As Chamber President, I have been lobbying on this issue since the train timetables were revised several years ago.

Thanks also to Steven Micevski from Dungog Station for his continued interest and involvement in this initiative but also in providing us with information about changes and variations in the train services for Dungog Shire.

As this is my final column for 2018, sincere best wishes to everyone for Christmas and the New Year from the Chamber and we look forward to and exciting and prosperous 2019.

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

2018 DDCC Christmas Decoration Competition | October 29, 2018


Following the success of our competitions in previous years, we are proud to announce with our Sponsor, the Dungog Chronicle,

The 2018 Dungog District Christmas Business Decoration Competition.

Yes, it’s time to take up the challenge and dust off those baubles, untangle the fairy lights and decorate your business/organisation window, car, property or even your staff for your chance to win.

All businesses and organisations are invited to take up the challenge and put together their own Christmas display. The invitation goes to retail businesses and organisations, with or without a street frontage, as well as tradies, professional services, farmers, manufacturers and home-based businesses. Decorate inside or outside or even decorate the tree in front of your business with lights.

As well as promoting local businesses in the Dungog Shire to locals and visitors, there are great prizes to be won and THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE. The prizes are designed to not only offer a reward to you and your staff for getting on board but offer an incentive for customers and clients to visit, judge your efforts and in turn win a prize for voting.

Judges’ Pick: $500 Dungog Dollar voucher to be spent at any participating business or organisation

People’s Choice: $250 Dungog Dollar voucher to be spent at any participating business or organisation

Voters’ Draw: $100 Dungog Dollar voucher to be spent at any participating business or organisation

To be eligible for competition prizes you will need to register by completing the entry form and returning it by 29 November 2018.

Right click on the below image and save to download the entry form.


TERMS AND CONDITIONS 2018 Christmas Decoration Competition

All business/organisation entries must be received by 29 November 2018 to qualify for competition prizes.

External shop displays are permitted but you must notify the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce of your intention to erect an external display.

The competition is open to all businesses/organisations in the Dungog Shire, including home-based and mobile businesses/organisations, as well as farms, tradies and main street businesses/organisations.

Winner of the Judges’ Pick $500 Dungog Dollar Voucher will be determined by judges appointed by the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce who will review the decorations throughout December.

Winner of the People’s Choice $250 Dungog Dollar Voucher will be decided by the business/organisation with the most votes.

Winner of the Voters’ Draw $100 Dungog Dollar Voucher will be drawn by a representative of the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce on 20th December 2018

Voting forms should be completed and deposited at participating businesses/organisations.

Voting forms must be fully completed (including the voters signature) otherwise will be considered invalid.

Persons under 12 years old are permitted to vote but the voting form must be signed by an adult over the age of 18 years.

Voting forms cannot be completed by a second party.

Owners, employees, volunteers and members of participating business or organisation are not permitted to vote for the business/organisation which they own or are associated with however are eligible to enter a vote for another participating business/organisation

Voting will close on Monday 17th December 2018 and winners announced on 20th December 2018

President's Column | September 25, 2018


Live, Love Shop Local Dungog Shire is a promotion designed to reduce the outside spend on goods and services, and therefore retain more dollars in our local businesses. It is also designed to help raise awareness as to the importance of supporting locally owned businesses, not only during the campaign but also on an on-going basis.

When you support our local businesses you are not only supporting the local economy and the employment of local people, you are also indirectly supporting your wider local community. Local businesses sponsor and support local community groups, including sports teams, local schools and other initiatives. Most local business owners also live in the Shire and contribute to the local community through volunteering and other in-kind activities.

This year’s Live Love Shop Local Dungog Shire will run from Monday, 1 October to Monday, 29 October, with the draw occurring and winners announced on Wednesday afternoon, 31 October. By shopping in participating businesses and collecting receipts to the value of $100, you will have the opportunity to win a share of $3,000 Dungog Dollars. This money will go back into the community as it needs to be spent at participating local businesses.

This year’s Shop Local Campaign is supported by a small grant which has been given to Dungog Shire Council by the NSW Department of Industry as part of Small Business Month in October. The prize money is being supplied by participating businesses paying a fee of $100 to be involved in the campaign, and sponsorship from an additional three businesses.

Last year the Chamber and Council partnered to stage the very successful inaugural Dungog Shire Business Expo on Saturday, 4 March at the James Theatre, and this was supported by a small grant from the NSW Department of Industry to celebrate Back to Business Week. The Expo benefitted not only local businesses but also some community groups.

Some of you might remember our last very successful Shop Local Campaign, which was conducted from July to September 2013. During that campaign, we distributed approximately 20,000 envelopes and people only needed to collect receipts to the value of $50. Even so, our conservative estimate is that we collected more than $750,000 in receipts spent in local businesses during the campaign.

Ivan Skaines, Council’s Co-ordinator, Economic Development, Tourism and Events has suggested that the campaign might also entice visitors to the area to spend more money in participating businesses, and we are going to promote the campaign widely via local media, including the Dungog Chronicle and Radio Dungog, as well as the Visit Dungog Facebook page, as well as the Chamber social media sites.

For details of participating businesses and full details head to our website

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President's Column | September 10, 2018

I have been chatting with Ivan Skaines, Council’s Economic Development, Tourism and Events Co-ordinator, about the Dungog Shire event landscape and, as usual, September provides a smorgasbord of opportunities for both locals and visitors to the area.

– Circus Avalon will be at the Dungog Showground from this Friday, 7 September to Sunday, 9 September 2018

– The Vacy Village Country Carnival will be back again next Sunday, 9 September

– The Hunter Valley Polo Challenge will be held at Wirragulla on Saturday, 15 and Sunday, 16 September

– Pedalfest will be staged with two new events namely the Dungog Criterion around Dungog on Saturday afternoon, 22 September and the Bingleburra Sportive on Sunday morning, 23 September

– The annual Art Exhibition staged by the Dungog Arts Society will be launched on Friday, 21 September and the exhibition will run from Saturday, 22 September until Monday, 1 October

– And to finish off the month the Dungog Festival including Sculpture on the Farm at “Fosterton”, the Country Garden Ramble at Dungog and Fosterton, and Oktoberfest at Wallarobba will be held over the weekend Friday, 28 September to Monday, 1 October.

Since Dungog Shire fights above its weight in organising and staging iconic events, most of which are organised by community groups and not for profit organisations, there are a number of us keen to see the major events strategy which is currently being developed for the Hunter Region. A discussion has been undertaken to canvas views on the future of events in the region with a wide range of business, industry, sports and events sector representatives, and these are being turned into concrete ideas and options for discussion before finalising the strategy recommendations.

A final report is imminent, and we look forward to having a framework for growing events in our region, and also capitalising on large events being held nearby.

Registration for our Dungog Shire Live Love Shop Local promotion has now closed. The promotion will take place during October 2018 as part of the Department of Industry Small Business Month. With approx. 24 businesses on board there will be plenty of Dungog Dollars on offer.

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President's Column | September 2, 2018

Following our AGM on Thursday 23rd August 2018 I am pleased to announce our committee members for 2018/19 as follows:

Jennifer Lewis – President

Marion Stuart – Vice President

Janice Bonamy – Secretary

Haley Collis – Treasurer

Colleen Duffy

Sarah Crawford

Michael Williams

Wes Neilson

Chris Ahearn

I would like to thank the DDCC Committee and welcome our new members.

All committee members work on a voluntary basis and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their work and contribution. Without the willingness of people to volunteer, associations such as ours would not exist. Things just don’t happen on their own accord, it takes hundreds of hours from people who have their own businesses, volunteer on numerous committees and of course have their own lives. Successful initiatives and promotions take hard work. We have been very lucky with our committee to find a dedicated group many which have backed up year after year.

The Committee and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges in the coming year and we will continue to help build a strong, competitive, and prosperous business environment across Dungog Shire.

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce

President's Column | August 22, 2018



Posted at 14:05h in Chamber Chatter, Council Rates, President's Column by DDCC

As part of the NSW Department of Industry Back to Business Month 1-31st October, 2018, Dungog District Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Dungog Shire Council will run a Shop & Win Campaign.

Based on our very successful buy local promotion in 2013, the campaign, whilst offering a reward to consumers for spending their dollars locally, is designed to raise awareness of the importance of supporting our local economy and showcase our available wide range of businesses and services. All businesses in the Dungog Shire are welcome to take part in the promotion. This is not just for retail businesses and is open to everyone including services providers, trades people etc etc.

To participate in the promotion businesses will be asked to contribute a $100 entry fee. The more businesses who participate the more prize money will be offer by way of Dungog Dollars. Entries close on 31st August, 2018. To find our more go to contact me on 0432 128 143 or email

Shopping local helps to build a strong and prosperous community for all.

Ivan Skaines, Dungog Shire Council’s Economic Development and Tourism Co-ordinator said that the Buy Local Campaign sits squarely with the recently amended Dungog Shire Community Strategic Plan 2030 as one of the challenges outlined in the plan is about stemming economic leakage from Dungog Shire to other regional centres.

The purpose of the Plan is to identify the community’s main priorities and aspirations for the future, and plan strategies to achieve them. Statistics show that 3,585 people are in the workforce in Dungog Shire but only 1,542 live in the Shire and work locally. The balance of 2,043 people, live in Dungog Shire but travel outside of the area to work with the major destinations being Maitland (730 people) and Newcastle (462 people). Dungog Shire is a net exporter of labour. The Buy Local Campaign aims to keep as much expenditure as possible in the Dungog Shire economy, therefore maintaining and even increasing local jobs.

While Dungog Shire Council has a custodial role in initiating, preparing and maintaining the Community Strategic Plan on behalf of the local government area, it works with other partners such as State agencies and community groups such as the Dungog District Chamber of Commerce in delivering long term objectives of the Plan.

Kind Regards,

Jennifer Lewis

President – Dungog District Chamber of Commerce