February 26 - March 4 2023: Issue 573


A Pittwater Mix: February 2023

Purple Poppy Day 2023 at Pittwater RSL - Seniors Festival at Newport - Author Talk; Jo Riccioni in conversation with Meg Dunn at Avalon Community Centre - Rotary Art Exhibition Opening Night at Mona Vale - Gay Pride Rainbows Chalking it UP at Avalon Beach 

Rainbow Pride

The Avalon Beach Culture Collective (ABCC) organised a gay pride event on Saturday February 25th, inviting all to have fun chalking rainbows on the new shared zone on Old Barrenjoey Rd.

ABCC Committee Members Ros Marsh and Miranda Korzy, said 'Love what kids do - they all developed their own take on rainbows and gay pride. The one girl draw a heart and flower, then some others joined the rainbows up so it was a double, and then the one kid made a single rainbow brick. '

Photos courtesy Ros Marsh and Miranda Korzy:

Rotary Club Of Upper Northern Beaches 2023 Art Show: Opening Night

"Art helps us make sense of the world". - Pittwater MP Rob Stokes at the 2023 Rotary Art Exhibition Opening

A celebration of local artistic talent that will make a lasting difference in the community is happening through the Rotary Upper Northern Beaches Art Show 2023, 24th-26th February.

There are over 220 paintings and works from 80 artists this year, including Catherine Frostick, Tony Cabassi, Greg Hyde, Nina Paine, Andrew Taylor, Thomas R Poole. 

The Rotary Club of the Upper Northern Beaches proudly supports local charities, as well as being contributing to a strong international network of global programs.

The Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club’s Art Show has fast become a popular annual community event and major charity fundraiser with the funds dedicated to supporting local and international charity beneficiaries.  50% of art sale proceeds are donated to worthy charities and all contributing artists are also in the running for a First Prize of $2,000 and Peoples’ Choice Award of $500.  

This year Trevor Harvey of Harvey Gallery Seaforth who was the club's Judge of the Major Prize.

The winner announced was Lena Nimmo for ‘Yellow Mobile’  #128  winner. 

Trevor stated ''‘Interior’ 126 also great. Her abstract ‘Fly Away’  #127 also great.

''Lena shows a confidence in her subject matter and materials. Whether it be a figurative painting, a miniature interior or a loose abstraction. They are all executed well. '' Trevor said

Special Mention; Mira Goldsborough. Beautiful work ! #70 I’m tempted to buy it. 

Congratulations to all.'' - Trevor Harvey.

Mayor Michael Regan, Lena Nimmo, Liz Lovell and The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP for Pittwater

Lena Nimmo prize winning painting Yellow Mobile

Congratulations to Liz Lovell, immediate Past President who was ‘running the show’ this year, along with the great team from the Rotary Upper Northern Beaches Club, MC Ian Stuart from Turramurra Rotary and Auctioneer Jake Downs for a great Opening night. 

Supported by generous partners including Johnson Brothers Mitre 10, the local art exhibition is a weekend of activity to remember. It involves a range of stunning works across a wide variety of different price ranges, the Friday-night drinks and auction event, as well as art sales and exhibition all weekend.   

The public has an opportunity to take pleasure in art whilst helping charities do great work. 

Art captures what our eyes and heart see in the world and hope to recall – a memory, an impression, or a created image that takes us elsewhere with its symmetry, the design, the materials used, the colours, a feast for the eyes.  As well as the pure pleasure of art, studies have shown that engaging with the arts can actually improve stress, memory, and empathy. Visiting a gallery has been found to relieve people of mental exhaustion, the same way the outdoors can.  

The Rotary Upper Northern Beaches Club is dedicated to strengthening mental wellbeing, health and communities, and the Art Show has become an important event supporting these goals.  

Over many years, funds raised by the Rotary Club have assisted many important organisations working locally in our area and this year, the Art Show will also directly support four charities:

  • Community Pantry at Narrabeen, helping those in need for companionship and a good meal
  • Gotcha for Life which is focused on building stronger mental health across the community  
  • and, by working alongside internationally based Rotary Clubs, provide funds for additional projects including Cambodia (Building Futures) and Timor Leste (Soibada), changing the lives of tens of thousands of children, women, and men.

The Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Club has grown stronger during the past three Covid-affected years and membership has grown. Members can be involved in their own personal areas of interest, from volunteering at events, driving much needed Christmas gifts to charities before Christmas, being part of an event such as this art show (hanging paintings), or creating great meetings with guest speakers and where members enjoy each other’s company.

Some of this year's artworks and captures from the Opening Night:

Neil Evers, Aboriginal Support Group Manly-Warringah-Pittwater gave the Welcome to Country

Independent Candidate for Pittwater, Jacqui Scruby

MC Ian Stuart from Turramurra Rotary

Auctioneer Jake Downs

Report: Tony Butera. Photos: Michael Mannington OAM, Community Photography

Seniors Expo At Newport Community Centre: Friday Feb 24, 2023

The 2023 Seniors Expo at Newport was a chance to find out about the many local seniors groups. Kicking off at 1 in the afternoon, there were over 20 information tables from local community groups and other organisations. The following local groups and organisations  attended:

  • Avalon Computer Pals – AvPals
  • Belong Club – CCNB
  • Carers Gateway – Yourside
  • Easylink Community Transport
  • HammondCare - Social Clubs
  • Lifeline Northern Beaches
  • Mentoring Men
  • MWP Care
  • Northern Beaches Dementia Alliance
  • Northern Beaches Prostate Cancer Support Group
  • Northern Beaches Creative Leisure & Learning
  • Northern Beaches Libraries
  • Pittwater Probus Club
  • University of the Third Age – U3A
  • Services Australia
  • Seniors Rights Service
  • Stroke Recovery Association
  • Sydney North Primary Health Network

Attendees state the U3A (University of the Third Age) Jazz Fusion Band was fantastic. They started with a very cool version of Booker T and the MGs Green Onions, and included Santana's Black Magic Woman, Dire Straits' Sultans of Swing and Summertime.

Deputy Mayor Sue Heins gave a great speech. Neil Evers was there, as was MP for Mackellar Sophie Scamps, Pittwater MP Rob Stokes and Councillor Miranda Korzy.

Photos courtesy Cr. Miranda Korzy.

Purple Poppy Day 2023: Commemorative Service Held At Pittwater RSL Cenotaph

A Purple Poppy Day Service was held on Friday 24 February 2023 at 11:00am at the Pittwater RSL Cenotaph, conducted through the Sub-branch, led by Deborah Carter, President, and with the support of the Pittwater RSL Club. 

The purple poppy is worn to remember, honour and symbolise all animals who have served and/or died during conflict. It is estimated that more than 8 million animals sacrificed their lives in World War I alone.

The V.I.P.s were the Explosive Detection Dogs. 

Guests for the Service were Dr Sophie Scamps, MP Member for Mackellar, The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop AO, The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP Member for Pittwater and Cr. Rory Amon, Northern Beaches Council. 

Students from Mona Vale Public and Sacred Heart Primary, Mona Vale, formed part of the Commemorative Service. 

As a lead up to this important Service, Sandra May-Crabb, Pittwater Sub-Branch Newsletter Editor, shared an October 2022 BBC report on one such animal, Rob, a dog, that was awarded the Dickin Medal for his war services in WW2. Rob was volunteered to help with the war effort by his Shropshire owners and was sent to North Africa with the SAS. 

Basil Bayne, the son of Rob's owner, said his presence behind enemy lines saved lives, which led to him getting the PDSA's Dickin Medal for Gallantry.

The medal is known as Victoria Cross for animals. 

The black and white collie-retriever was bought from a local farm for five shillings and became a family pet on Mr Bayne's parent's smallholding in Tetchill, near Ellesmere. His parents heard a radio appeal for dogs to be "submitted to the war effort" for guard duty and they volunteered him in 1942, he said.

Rob was attached to the SAS and guarded ammunition dumps before being taken up on a plane with SAS officers practising parachute jumps. 

"The handler who jumped with Rob on three occasions said without his presence they would not have survived the forces and it was for that the dog was given the animal VC," Mr Bayne said

The Dickin Medal was established in 1943 by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) founder Maria Dickin, and is the highest award an animal can receive while serving in military conflict. The medal has been awarded 74 times since then, with dogs, pigeons, horses and a cat honoured.

The BBC story related that Rob's medal, sold through medal auctioneer Noonans of Mayfair in London, broke the previous world record for a Dickin Medal which had been awarded to a pigeon for its gallantry during D-Day. The medal was sold for £140,000. The proceeds were given to the Taylor McNally Foundation charity, which trains and educates on poultry husbandry.

Following his military service, Rob returned to his owners in Tetchill, Shropshire. He died in 1952 and was buried on the family farm, marked with a stone memorial which reads: 

To the dear memory of Rob, war dog no 471/322, twice VC, Britain's first parachute dog, who served three and a half years in North Africa and Italy with the Second Special Air Service Regiment. Died 18th January 1952 aged 12 1/2 years. Erected by Basil and Heather Bayne in memory of a faithful friend and playmate 1939–1952.

Canine Operational Service Medal

In Australia we now have the Canine Operational Service Medal. The Medal was introduced on June 8th 2017 to recognise the contribution Military Working Dogs make whilst serving on operations. The Medal  forms part of Defence’s internal recognition scheme and is not part of the Australian Honours and Awards System. The Australian Defence Force is the first Defence Force to implement recognition of this nature.

The Medal will be awarded to Military Working Dogs who have 30 days service continuous or aggregated on a declared operation. Phase one of the project will focus on identifying Military Working Dogs with service on operations from East Timor (1999) to current day. Phase two will focus on Defence conducting research to identify Military Working Dogs with service from Vietnam onwards.

Welcome and Introduction
Deborah Carter
President, Pittwater RSL Sub-Branch
March on Dog Handlers and their Dogs

“On 24 February 2019, Federal Minister Scott Buchholz announced that the day would be set aside every year to commemorate and honour the animals that continue to fight for the sovereignty of our great country. Australia joined many other countries in the world in marking the War Animal Day. We are all being encouraged to wear a purple poppy in recognition of the deeds and sacrifice our four legged and feathered diggers have made, and continue to make serving alongside our troops. 

The announcement came at the backdrop of another yet great milestone that saw the opening of the first international war animal memorial. The memorial is located near the French town of Pozieres, which was a central battlefield for WW1.”

Last year was our inaugural Purple Poppy Day service, and we were lucky to have two dogs and their handlers from Holsworthy as our guests.

by Dog Handlers and their Dogs from the School of Military Engineering, Holsworthy Army Base

SQN. LDR Dr. Anna Williams - “All Things Bright and Beautiful”

Poem read by Evie from Mona Vale Public School 


I spoke to you in whispers
As shells made the ground beneath us quake
We both trembled in that crater
A toxic muddy bloody lake
I spoke to you and pulled your ears
To try and quell your fearful eye
As bullets whizzed through the raindrops
And we watched the men around us die
I spoke to you in stable tones
A quiet tranquil voice
At least I volunteered to fight
You didn't get to make the choice
I spoke to you of old times
Perhaps you went before the plough
And pulled the haycart from the meadow
Far from where we're dying now
I spoke to you of grooming
Of when the ploughman made you shine
Not the shrapnel wounds and
bleeding flanks
Mane filled with mud and wire and grime
I spoke to you of courage
As gas filled the Flanders air
Watched you struggle in the mud
Harness acting like a snare
I spoke to you of peaceful fields
Grazing beneath a setting sun
Time to rest your torn and tired body
Your working day is done
I spoke to you of promises
If from this maelstrom I survive
By pen and prose and poetry
I'll keep your sacrifice alive
I spoke to you of legacy
For when this hellish time is through
All those who hauled or charged or carried
Will be regarded heroes too
I spoke to you in dulcet tones
Your eye told me you understood
As I squeezed my trigger to bring you peace
The only way I could
And I spoke to you in whispers...


Deborah Carter, President, Pittwater RSL Sub-Branch
The Hon. Bronwyn Bishop AO
The Hon. Rob Stokes, MP Member for Pittwater,
Dr Sophie Scamps, MP for Mackellar
Councillor Rory Amon, Northern Beaches Council
Det. Sgt Ross Wagland, North Shore Police Area Command
Mr Barry Andrews, President, Northern Beaches Nashos
Mr John Fairless, President, Collaroy RSL Sub-Branch
Mrs Tamara Sloper-Harding, Vice President, Avalon RSL Sub-Branch
Mr John West, Secretary, Narrabeen RSL Sub-Branch
Leigh Arnold, President, Pittwater RSL Club
Jason Manning, CEO, Pittwater RSL Club
Mona Vale Public School
Sacred Heart Catholic School
Narrabeen North Public School

Deborah Carter

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted.
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them.
ALL: We will remember them. Lest we forget.

Bugler, Dr Harriet Channon

THE LAST POST ~ 1 minute silence ~ ROUSE

“Eight million horses, donkeys and mules died in World War I. Previously, three-quarters of them had been subjected to extreme working conditions.” Find out more about these brave war horses

To all Animals in War, who had no choice.
Lest We Forget

Dr Anna Williams leads in:
The Royal National Anthem – “God Save the King”
New Zealand National Anthem - “Aotearoa”
Australian National Anthem - “Advance Australia Fair

Photos from the 2023 Purple Poppy Day Commemorative Service held at Pittwater RSL:


Photos: by Maryan Heffernan and Michael Mannington OAM, Community Photography

Avalon Community Library Event: Wednesday Night, February 22nd At The Community Centre:  Author Talk - Jo Riccioni In Conversation With Meg Dunn

Meg Dunn is the library volunteers coordinator. This was anther great evening hosted by the library, with Jo speaking about her new book The Branded. Her previous book, The Italians at Cleats Corner, was literary fiction. Her new one, as a dystopian fantasy taking place during a viral pandemic, is quite a departure. Those who catch the disease are "branded" and denied the privileges of those like her main characters, two twins who are regarded as "pure". 

Ironically, she had begun writing the story before the Covid outbreak!

These Author Talk Evenings run through Avalon Community Library have been a staple for years. They are great value at $10, which includes drinks (including a glass of wine) and finger food. They're also an opportunity to buy the book after hearing about the story from its creator. So look out for them on the Avalon Community Library website: https://www.avalonlibrary.org.au/

You can also sign up for the newsletter which will keep you informed about their events.

Photos courtesy Cr. Miranda Korzy.