I rise today to congratulate St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Normanhurst on their centenary. I was honoured to join members of St Stephen’s for their centenary service and celebrations. More than 550 members of our community gathered together to celebrate the life of a church institution that’s been vital to so many. The centenary service was addressed by the Anglican archbishop Kanishka Raffel. I want to acknowledge the leadership of St Stephen’s, including Senior Minister Baden Stace; Assistant Minister Peter Hughes; Ministers Karl Bonner, Chris Jones, Josh Vallentine and Jess Donohue; and the parish administrator, Felicity Stead. I look forward to the fine contributions of St Stephen’s church over the next century.
In 1969, members of the then Normanhurst Methodist Church produced and performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury for the second half of a local church concert. Six years later, the Normanhurst Uniting Church Musical Society was born and has become a cornerstone of our community, spreading joy through art. It’s never too early to introduce children to the joys of musical theatre. We took our two young children to see their first show since COVID—a concert called Songs That Go Like This. I want to acknowledge the society’s president, Mel Hogan; vice-president, Jess Ferraro; the committee members, Kent Blackmore, Ian Barker, Ian Wesley, Matt Lee, Ed Corbett, Lyn Drabsch; and the amazing cast of Leah Procter, Abbey Fyffe, Laura Fisher, Dominic Augimeri, Kent Blackmore, John Hogan, Jess Ferraro, Jennifer Nash, Georgia Kokkoris, Warren Fisher, Angus Stewart and Piper Hogan, as well as the crew and musicians of the society, for a fine performance. I look forward to many more performances at the Normanhurst Uniting Church Musical Society for years to come.
I want to put on record the worthy initiatives of some budding leaders in my electorate. Earlier this year, I received a formal letter from the student leadership team at Cherrybrook Public School. When these young leaders noticed the flags at their school were in disrepair, they requested three new flags for their school: an Australian flag, an Aboriginal flag and a Torres Strait Islander flag. When I visited Cherrybrook to present the flags to the school, to their leaders Lana Vukasovic, Cohen Freeland, Moses Chan and Maggie Huang, I applauded their initiative. I asked the years 5 and 6 cohorts tough questions about the flags—about who designed them and when—and I have to say I was so impressed with the knowledge of those students. They knew answers about our flags that I don’t think most adults would know. I want to acknowledge the amazing teachers at Cherrybrook Public School and, in particular, their principal, Harris Vassila, and Deputy Principals Glen Lakeman and Rebecca Jager for inviting me to present those flags.
Local small businesses are the heart and soul of our community. Small businesses create employment and provide unique goods and services for our community. Small-business people take a risk and seize an opportunity to grow an idea and provide for their families and the families of their employees. Two things help make a great business: a great business owner and a great team. It’s always nice to take the opportunity to celebrate their success and highlight their achievements. That’s why I was pleased to attend this year’s Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Local Business Awards, where I presented some of the awards.
I want to acknowledge and congratulate the most recent award winners from our community: artist Kim Neil of Hornsby Heights for outstanding antiques, arts, crafts and gifts; Sydney Oyster Farm Tours of Brooklyn for outstanding tourism services; Donna Westwood’s business, Westwood Conveyancing, of Hornsby, for being an outstanding sole proprietor; Ramsay Health Plus at Mount Wilga for their outstanding health improvement services; Cameron Harrison’s Suncamper Motorhomes of Thornleigh for their outstanding new and used motor vehicles; Harris Farm Markets in Pennant Hills Marketplace for outstanding fresh food and produce; and Heritage House Childcare and Early Learning Centre in Cherrybrook for their outstanding care. Congratulations to all winners and businesses nominated for the 2022 Local Business Awards. It’s so important that we shop local and support our community.
Probus clubs are an excellent way for retirees to make social connections in our local community. I want to acknowledge the Asquith Probus Club, which celebrated its 14th birthday last month. I was fortunate to have been invited to speak at the event at which over 100 members of the community came together to celebrate Probus Day, the United Nations International Day of Older Persons and, of course, Asquith Probus Club’s birthday. I want to thank the president, John Davies, and Vice President Sandra Death for the invitation to speak and the honour of marking the occasion by blowing out the candles on the birthday cake. I want to thank Barry Willick, who oversees membership and has been with the club for 14 years. Impressively, of the 150 founding members of the club, 38 are still active members attending almost every meeting. Finally, I want to acknowledge the committee members: Pam Slater, Angus Dougaall, Jim Jeffries, Mal Steel, Judy Thompson and Vicki McPherson for their dedication. I wish many more years of success to the Asquith Mixed Probus Club.
I am very fortunate to have in my community a series of wonderful community organisations who achieve amazing things in the community and who celebrate important milestones and years of service. It is important that I place on record in this House the wonderful work that so many in our community do to bolster the spirit in our community for years and years to come.