We are well into another new year in beautiful Pearl Beach, but for all of us this summer has come to mean much more than warm weather, time with family and lazy days at the beach. The catastrophic bushfires that seem to have been burning forever, and have finally been extinguished, have been an ongoing source of anxiety for our community and more so of course for those more directly affected. Thankfully, at least so far, we have been spared the trauma that a serious bushfire would inflict on our village. However, the recent storms have resulted in some damage to property (including the rear of our Hall), not to mention the loss of so many trees and other flora, but thankfully with no loss of life or serious injury.
It is appropriate therefore to acknowledge the wonderful work of the RFS and SES volunteers, who have worked tirelessly to respond to calls for assistance, both within and well beyond Pearl Beach. Whatever anxieties we might have experienced over recent months would no doubt have been significantly exacerbated had we not had the confidence that we have in these brave men and women. The fact that our community and many grateful visitors have raised over $30,000 for the RFS at a number of fundraising events is clear evidence of our appreciation.
As always we have begun the new year with a busy program of social events. The Australia Day Kids Races was again a wonderful event enjoyed by not only our community but the hundreds of visitors to our village. Thanks are due to Larry Nelson, Peggy Todd and their teams of helpers, also to Ross Hilliard of PB Real Estate for his generous sponsorship of the barbecue which resulted in a substantial donation to Mingaletta. Members should look at the calendar on the Association’s website for the next few months, but we can look forward in particular to the Opera in the Arboretum on 28 March, the Easter Book Fair and the innovative Pearl Beach Art Trail on 11 April, the much anticipated Dead Men Talking (Henry Lawson and Banjo Patterson in conversation) performance on 9 May and the Scholarship Concerts on 16 and 17 May.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Beach Hall, and we are planning some appropriate activities to acknowledge this important milestone. Members will be very aware of the pivotal role that the Hall plays in the life of our community. It was first opened in 1950 and has been enlarged and upgraded several times. The Association has undertaken extensive consultation with our community to develop a program of works to enhance the functionality of the rear of the Hall, including a larger deck and roof, as well as a new storeroom. We have been fortunate in having secured a substantial grant under the Central Coast Council Community Infrastructure Grants program, which will allow us to proceed with the upgrade.
Finally, given that the Pearl Beach community is largely made up of people at (shall we say) a mature stage of life, we need from time to time to mark the passing of one or more of them. We note with great sadness the recent loss of long time residents Sylvia Fullerton, Grace Walker and Fay Austin. Fay in particular was always a lively contributor at the Association’s General Meetings and the mainstay of the Dune Care group. Sylvia, Grace and Fay will all be missed.