Recipe For A Happier, Healthier Community

HEART OF THE COMMUNITY… The Meals on Wheels staff at their annual Christmas party for clients and volunteers. They are (L-R) Annika Gatt, Gill Kinsela, Jenny Field, Deborah Wren and Tash Butt.

Meals on Wheels is a familiar name in the Parkes Shire as the service has been at the heart of our communities for 56 years.

It is all about people in the community joining forces to help others. Whilst age and disability may reduce some people’s capacity to get out and about, this service help make it possible for them to stay in their homes, and maintain their independence.

The organisation has 250 volunteers who help deliver hot meals to 90 clients in Parkes, Peak Hill, Trundle and Tullamore, as well as frozen meals across the shire.

The hot and nutritious meals are made fresh every day at the Parkes Services Club, and delivered Monday to Friday to clients. There is also the option to get frozen meals every day and over weekends.

According to the Manager of Meals on Wheels, Gill Kinsela, the service is not just for the frail aged and disabled, but for the whole community to keep people in their own homes longer with good nutrition and well-being.

About two years ago Meals on Wheels further extended its service to the community by starting a new initiative called Second Bite. Donated bread, fruit and vegetables from Coles are being made available to anyone in the community on weekdays from 12 to 1:30pm.

With funding extended until 2022, Meals on Wheels will be happy to welcome more volunteers. One hour a week or a month is all that it takes. Pay their new and very accessible office at 39 Currajong a visit, or call them on 6862 6189. No matter what you can offer, every bit of help adds up to a happier, healthier community.


Ian Phipps: Volunteer

Ian was convinced by his wife Dawn to become a volunteer driver for Meals on Wheels nine years ago. They are part of a network of 250 volunteers who help to distribute meals to about 90 clients across the Parkes Shire. “I do the driving and Dawn does the delivery. She is good at talking to people,” said Ian.

Ian and Dawn help out once a month to deliver meals to nine clients. “You build up a good relationship with the clients over time, and even make good friends.” Ian says he just enjoys being a volunteer, and hopes a volunteer will one day bring meals to him.

“Meals on Wheels play a pretty big role in our community, especially in the lives of older people. They do not have busy lives any more and really look forward to their meals. It is great for them to have something to look forward to and not to worry about making the food.”

Parkes is one of only four services left in NSW to offer hot meals to clients. Ian said he would recommend to anyone to become a volunteer. “It only takes one hour out of your day.”


Deb Wren: Client Support Officer

Deb joined Meals on Wheels more than four years ago as a staff member and has since taken on the responsibility of looking after the clients and volunteers.

One of the highlights of her job is listening to clients’ stories. “They are all fantastic characters.”

She also enjoys doing all the organising, and being part of the team. It gives her a lot of satisfaction working for such an essential service in the community looking after the elderly and disabled, especially in a regional area where the service is vital.

“Visiting a client is so important as you are often the only person they would see that day. They all become your friends and it generates a lot of caring.”

As for the volunteers, Deb feels the work gives them a sense of self as they are helping the community. “Parkes has one of the best turnouts of volunteers in NSW.”

The best part for her is seeing the smiles on the volunteers’ faces. “They are always so happy… and they get as many smiles from clients as they give.”


Bob Fernando: Volunteer

Bob joined more than eight years ago as a volunteer when he had time on his hands. “I like being productive, and they say volunteers live longer! I also enjoy passing on my kind spirit.”

For him it is not only about delivering a meal, which breaks the boredom of the day for many of the clients, but it is also about socialising. “I always try and crack a joke or two and you end up making friends.”

Bob fills in as driver whenever he is need- ed, and also helps out at Second Bite twice a week. Instead of throwing their food out, Coles donates bread, fruit and vegetables on a daily basis and every weekday from 12 to 1:30pm anyone in the community can visit Second Bite to help themselves to what- ever they need. “We get about 14 people who come in every day of all ages. The food is still in a very good condition.”

Bob ensures nothing is wasted. All the leftover food at the end of the week is donated again to owners of animals. “The food goes to horses, pigs, chickens and even a donkey.”




Celebrating Life In The Midst Of Losses And Challenges

JOY, PEACE AND HOPE… Get into the Christmas spirit in Cooke Park this Sunday from 6:30pm for the very popular family event of Carols in the Park. See the full program on the back page.

Almost 30 years ago, when our region was gripped by a terrible drought, it was decided that we need to find a way to come together and celebrate life even in the midst of sorrow.

On behalf of Parkes Ministers Association, Sister Eileen Quade and team had the genius idea of bringing the churches, the schools and the community together to sing Christmas carols.

The songs and message of Christmas bring us a special hope, joy and peace like no other, that does not depend on our circumstances.

“Joy to the World”, published 300 years ago, remains an all-time favourite song because it fills our hearts with joy and enduring hope.

“Silent Night” is renowned for conveying a supernatural peace. Each carol, whether new or traditional, has a special story and impact on us.

It is the message of Christmas that brings the churches together in a powerful and unified way. Unto us the Son is born. Jesus is God with us, identifying with all our needs. As we personally put our trust in him, he gives us a brand new quality of life: abundant and eternal.

We greatly value the work of each of our school choirs and music teachers who, in the midst of the busiest time of the year, labour diligently to bring the best out of our children and youth. All local schools are bringing to us a song of celebration this year!

In the midst of this prolonged season of loss and trial, we deeply appreciate the so many organisations who have generously pitched in to provide help, encouragement and hope.

Carols in the Park continues to be a celebration of community and life!

By Rev Andrew Taggart
(President, Parkes Ministers Association)

Lessons From Shanghai

GREAT OPPORTUNITY… TAFE NSW students and Parkes Shire Council employees Jaimee Timmins, Logan Hignett and Kelly Hendry went to China last month on a program to enhance their industry skills and knowledge.

Three local TAFE NSW students were selected for an extraordinary opportunity to travel from Parkes to a world city with a population larger than the whole of Australia and gain unprecedented access to some of its largest global enterprises and businesses.

Jaimee Timmins, Logan Hignett and Kelly Hendry were selected from 30 applicants for a 16-day trip to Shanghai, China’s biggest city, as part of the Outbound Mobility Program giving rural and remote students the opportunity to travel abroad to enhance their industry skills and knowledge.

Jaimee, Logan and Kelly, who are also Parkes Shire Council employees, have come back with bags full of experiences, but also fresh ideas for their workplace. In Shanghai they met with industry business leaders at Wujiang Government, the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai, Renji Hospital, AustCham Shanghai and BlueScope Corporate. They also visited the world-famous China International Import Expo and Disneyland.

“It was a massive learning curve for me,” said Jaimee who also experienced her very first trip overseas. “It was amazing to see how structured and orderly everything is run in such a huge city. I gained insight into their way of life and how good their communication is for instance at the hospital where they deal with lots of international doctors.”

Coming back to Council she’s learned to think outside the square and that there’s always room for improvement.

Kelly was very impressed with the city’s long-term vision and planning and how that leads to amazing infrastructure and a well- planned city.

She also enjoyed the group they travelled with. “We worked well together, formed strong networks, and cemented what we’ve learned in our Diploma in Leadership and Management.”

Logan, a civil engineer who moved from the Orange Council shortly before the trip, said he found his first visit to an Asian country a culture shock, “but I grew as a person because of it”. He was particularly impressed with business innovation initiatives with rewards to encourage staff members to come forward with ideas. “I found that really interesting as it helps to increase efficiency and encourages people to want to do better and try out new things. This is something we could look at here at Council.”

He said he found it hard to bring back civil engineering ideas as they were years ahead being a mega city. “There are a lot of customer service ideas though that we could look at in the future as the acceptance of technology with younger generations come through, like the paying of rates at 24/7 kiosks.”

The TAFE group attending a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in Shanghai.

Kelly said she brought back the importance of long-term vision and planning, and doing trade with China and dealing with Chinese culture. “As Parkes grows and progresses with the Special Activation Precinct, it will be important to get things right when it comes to international development projects.”

The experience of seeing a city with such rapid growth in a short time frame where there is a lot of cement, made Jaimee, Logan and Kelly appreciate the open space, blue skies and birds again back home.

They agreed it was a great opportunity that opened many doors they would never have been able to do visiting Shanghai as individuals.

By Maggi Barnard

A Special Day For 8 New Citizens

CONGRATULATIONS!… Parkes became eight new Australian citizens richer on Tuesday when a citizenship ceremony was held at the Council chambers. At the back (L-R) are Mayor Ken Keith OAM, Mohannad Islam, Claudia Vejrazka, Leonardo Tiveron, Ludovico Tiveron and Deputy Mayor Barbara Newton. In front are Kuiju Cai, Edi Sartori, Alma Marsh and Kate Anzia.

The Parkes Shire Council chamber filled with pride and joy on Tuesday as eight local residents became Australian citizens witnessed by their families and friends.

Mayor Ken Keith congratulated the candidates on their decision to become citizens and said: “I hope that you will embrace the values of freedom, peace, diversity and acceptance that we enjoy in Australia, particularly here in Parkes, and I hope that they are the values that you will pass on to your children.”

The eight new citizens, who came to Australia from five different countries, each received a citizenship certificate signed by the Mayor, a Parkes Shire Council pen in a presentation box, a Parkes booklet and a citizenship poster for the children.

Kate Tique Anzia came to Australia from the Philippines in 2014. She is a carer at the Southern Cross Care Village and enjoys cooking and reading.

Alma Marsh is from Manila in the Philippines and has been in Australia since 2012. She works as a kitchenhand and her interests are gardening, computers, reading and investing in properties.

Ludovico Tiveron moved from Italy to Parkes in 2014. He works as a delivery man at Dominos, and teaches martial arts to a junior class. In his free time he enjoys fishing and martial arts.

Edi Sartori, who enjoys gardening, cooking and crafting, moved to Parkes from Italy in 2014.

Deputy Mayor Barbara Newton congratulates Kuiju Cai on attaining her citizenship at the ceremony held on Tuesday.

Leonardo Tiveron who also came from Italy, has just graduated as a mechanical engineer at the University of Newcastle. His interests are cars and motorbikes.

Mohannad Islam is from Bangladesh and first arrived in Sydney in 2014. He moved to Parkes in 2018 and works as a mechanical engineer. He enjoys travelling, reading books and watching movies.

Claudia Vejrazka is from Germany and first came to Parkes in 2006 as a vacation student. She moved to Perth in 2009 and in 2011 to Parkes. She is a mining engineer and her interests are permaculture and horticulture. It was an extra special day for Claudia as it was also her daughter’s third birthday.

Kuiju Cai is from China and first arrived in Australia in 1999. She moved to Parkes in 2014 and currently works as a kitchen hand. She enjoys watching TV.

The candidates each took an oath or affirmation, and everyone sang the national anthem after the presentation of their citizenship certificates.

It is a long and often difficult journey to become a citizen making the ceremony a very special milestone day. The joy, pride and honour felt by the new citizens was evident on Tuesday with many of them saying they already felt part of the community.

“Parkes is a great community, and the people are lovely and friendly,” said Edi Sartori. “It is not only an honour to become a citizen, but also makes me feel that I am now a permanent member of the community,” said Mohanned Islam.

By Maggi Barnard

A Dark Sky Filled With Glittering Stories

SKY WRITERS… Two of the 50 creative writers in the Dark Sky Dreamings anthology are from Parkes: Sal MacKean and Braam Smit.

The night sky over Parkes puts on a spectacular show for free every night, but when was the last time you looked up to enjoy it? Two star-gazing Parkes residents have been creatively inspired by this majestic wonder with their writing included in a collection of poetry and prose in the newly released Dark Sky Dreamings anthology.

The night sky has been a source of inspiration to both Sarah (Sal) MacKean and Braam Smit and when the Skywriters Project was launched they both embraced the opportunity to take their writing a step further.

“I liked the idea of writing about the sky because Parkes has these fantastic sky scapes,” said Sal, who moved here in 2015 from the UK. “I don’t know of any other place with such magnificent night views. It is one of Parkes’ strengths.”

For Braam, who moved to Parkes from a polluted city in South Africa only last year, it was an opportunity to embrace two of his passions: poetry and astronomy. “You can’t miss the night sky in Parkes, it is just spectacular. I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry, and as an amateur astronomer I enjoy spending time behind my telescope.”

Sal and Braam both ended up contributing poems to the anthology that includes the work of 48 other writers from inland NSW and beyond.

“I’ve given up being a lawyer hoping to become a writer,” said Sal, who now works in special education at Parkes High School. She took the bold step of writing poetry for the first time. “Seeing my first work in print is a positive thing for me. I feel very good about it.” She hopes this will bring opportunities to get more of her work published. She has written four novels and some short stories since arriving in Parkes.

Braam has had his Afrikaans poems published in South Africa and the Netherlands, but seeing his very first poem written in English and published in Australia is exciting for him. “It was a very rewarding project. I liked the idea of writing about the sky. It feels good to be in the company of other poets who all experienced the same thing and wrote about it.”

He said making the switch to writing in English has not been that difficult, although he felt he was a lot more cautious in his writing. He hopes to do a lot more writing and eventually have enough material for a collection of his own.

The Dark Sky Dreamings anthology was launched in Tamworth last week, and editor Merrill Findlay plans to have a launch in Parkes too in the near future.

By Maggi Barnard

A Big Hunk O’ Emu

Meet our latest resident the rockin’ emu on the Parkes Services Club wall in Caledonia Street.


If 20,000 plus people can do it every year, why not an emu?

Parkes has a brand-new resident – a giant jumpsuit-clad, rockin’ emu mural to add to our town’s collection of 17 public art installations.

It took acclaimed Lightning Ridge artist, John Murray, two and a half days to transform the Caledonia Street wall of the Parkes Services Club into an Elvis-inspired emu artwork, complete with a bejewelled jumpsuit.

“I was driving through Parkes and noticed there was an opportunity for more street art. It’s great for the town as there are always grey nomads passing through, especially during Parkes Elvis Festival.”

John began painting the larger-than-life caricatures in the 1980s. His work now features in public spaces across the country. The Elvis Emu in Parkes is an exact replica of the one painted on ACDC Lane in Melbourne unveiled earlier this year.

Find out more about the Parkes Shire Public Art Trail at

Young Business Takes Top Award

HAPPY TIMES… The victorious Kerin Physio Co team (L-R)Rochelle Smith, Meg Wright, Jess Cox, Abby Blair, Rachel Kerin, Jeanette Greenhalgh, Carmen Amor, Brooke Maslin, Sarah Hartin and Laura Jelbart. Insert: Sylvie Everingham-Potts of The Parkes Phoenix. (Photo: Keith Turk)


A mere three years after starting out, Kerin Physio Co took out the top gong at last Friday’s The Henrys – Parkes Business Awards.

Rachel Kerin and her team not only won the prestigious Henry for Business of the Year, but also triumphed with the Excellence in Professional Services Award at the annual event.

Rachel credited her team saying: “They are a group of women who are amongst the most talented, genuine and passionate women I know. Women who I am so privileged to work alongside.”

“We are so humbled to be The Henry Parkes Business of the Year and so very grateful for everyone who has supported our business.”

Rachel Kerin collected a third award sharing the Excellence in Small Business Award with Jess Galvin and Rebecca Miller from

La Bella Medispa, who also won the Excellence in Personal and Lifestyle Services Award. Many more individuals and businesses were winners on the night as awards were given out across 14 categories.

The Parkes Phoenix won Excellence in Micro Business Award. Our Senior Advertising Executive, Sylvie Everingham-Potts said: “I would like to thank the Parkes Chamber for organising this event, and all our supporters. It is because of you we get to do what we do for our community and we appreciate every one of you. As a small business here in Parkes we feel what you feel during times of hardship, such as the current drought.”

Other double award winners on the night included Parkes PCYC and its manager Tim Watts who won the Excellence in Social Enterprise Award and Tim, the Outstanding Business Leader title.

More individual awards were won by Jessica Bourke from Hughes & Co Lawyers & Conveyancing for Outstanding Young Employee, and Jess Galvin from La Bella Medispa for Outstanding Young Entrepreneur.

The rest of the winners were: The Excellence in Hospitality and Tourism Services Award went to Peak Hill Caravan Park; the Excellence in Retail Award to Regional Business Supplies; Excellence in Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Mine, Industrial and Trades Award to Regos Plus; Excellence in Innovation to Burns Precision Agriculture; Start Up Superstar to Mid-West Cleaning Home Repairs Service; and Excellence in Business winner was Ray White Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin.

The 2019 Ken Birch Memorial Hall of Fame was awarded posthumously to for- mer Parkes Public School principal Leanne Breaden. She passed away at the end of 2017 from ovarian cancer. Her husband Peter Breaden and son Joel accepted the award.

The gala event also went pink in support of the first Pink Up Parkes campaign featuring a pink theme. The Parkes Chamber of Commerce also donated $5 from every ticket sold and handed over a cheque of $1,260 to the McGrath Foundation.

Northparkes Best Emergency Response Team In Mining

TOP TEAM…The victorious Northparkes ERT members are (L-R) Jamie Pope, Scott Mackenzie, Ellie Hawkins, Linda Snyman, Jade Walker, Travis Carte, Rachael Whiting, Matt Flynn and Wayne Sargent.


The Emergency Response Team (ERT) of Northparkes Mines has won a prestigious national mine rescue competition for the fourth time.

Northparkes ERT won the 2019 Victorian Mine Rescue Competition last weekend at the Yallourn Mine in the Latrobe Valley of Victoria. They competed against eight teams from Victoria and NSW in a display of world-leading expertise of Australia’s mining industry at the 27th annual staging of the event.

This year’s team was led by Linda Snyman, the first female captain at Northparkes to bring back the winner’s trophy. The other members were Jamie Pope, Scott Mac- Kenzie, Ellie Hawkins, Jade Walker, Travis
Carte, Wayne Sargent and Matt Flynn. Northparkes won best overall, followed by Oscar 1 Emergency Response Brigade in second place and Fosterville Gold Mine in third place.

The teams competed in a range of events including team skills, firefighting, first aid, rope rescue and search and rescue.

The competition featured a variety of simulated emergency situations where teams put their skills to the test.

The Northparkes team placed first in breathing apparatus, first in theory, first in rope rescue, third in first aid, third in the captain’s assessment and third in search and rescue.

“Congratulations to the competition team and the entire group of ERT members who train year-round to ensure they are ready to assist in case of an emergency. We are enormously proud of each and every one of you,” said Northparkes Managing Director, Hubert Lehman.

Another highlight was Northparkes ERT member Travis Carte winning the overall theory component. “We have sent members of our ERT to compete for the past 24 years and were named the overall winner in 2009, 2014 and 2015. Our consist- ent success at this competition reflects the hard work of our ERT members to stay at the leading edge of emergency response practices,” said Hubert.

“Zero Harm is our approach to every aspect of our operations and our ability to respond to emergency scenarios is a critical part of this. Competitions such as this allow us to practise our skills and benchmark ourselves against others in the industry,” said Northparkes Manager People, Safety & Environment, Stacey Kelly.

First Milestone Award In Australia For The Dish

ONE OF HUMANITY’S GREATEST ACHIEVEMENTS… The Parkes Radio Telescope was honoured for its role in the Apollo moon landing receiving the very first IEEE Milestone Award in Australia. At the unveiling of the plaque were (L-R) IEEE president elect Professor Toshio Fukuda, Director of Canberra’s Deep Space Communications Complex Dr Ed Kruzins, former Parkes Radio Telescope radio engineer David Cooke and IEEE History Committee representative David Burger.


It was as if the galaxies out there also applauded the singular honour bestowed on the Parkes Radio Telescope last Friday when rain started falling shortly after the dedication of the very first IEEE Milestone Award in Australia.

The largest technical professional association in the world, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), has honoured 202 significant technical achievements all over the world. Last Friday the very first Milestone Award in Australia was unveiled at CSIRO’s Parkes Radio Telescope dedicated to its contribution in receiving Apollo communications from the Moon on 21 July 1969 (AEST).

CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope and NASA’s Honeysuckle Creek stations in Australia received voice and video signals from Apollo 11 moonwalk which were redistributed to millions of viewers around the world. The televised images from Parkes were superior to other ground stations, and NASA used them for much of the two-and-a-half hour broadcast of the moon walk. About 600 million people watching it live around the world were able to witness this signal moment in history, with the greatest possible clarity, thanks to the Parkes Radio Telescope.

Parkes was one of the first radio telescopes to use the newly developed ‘corrugated feed horn’, and Parkes became the model for the NASA Deep Space Network large aperture antennas.

“As President of IEEE I am very honoured to join my colleagues at this occasion today,” said Toshio Fukuda, and commended the IEEE Milestone program for their tremendous effort.

Several speakers referred to that “moment in history that would stop the world” with David Cooke, who was a radio engineer at the Parkes Radio Telescope at the time of the moon landing, giving a very personal account of the historic day.

He confirmed the scene in the movie The Dish of the wind starting to gust at 110km/h, but “John Bolton who was the Director knew the system very well and he directed the driver of the telescope to keep going. So right on time as the camera was turned on, we began to receive images.”

David said it was only at the recent commemoration of 50 years since the moon landing that he really appreciated how significant it really was. “I think at the time I felt like it was just another day at work. Although afterwards I went down and outside and I looked up at the moon and I thought to myself: ‘Three people are up there and we helped put them there. How amazing is that!’”

IEEE History Committee representative David Burger said it was a very distinguished occasion and a big deal for Australia to be honoured by the IEEE.

“We are delighted to have you here celebrating such a wonderful occasion,” said Parkes Deputy Mayor Barbara Newton. “We love our Dish and we are very proud of everyone who has worked here over the years.”

The IEEE has over 400,000 members worldwide and in excess of 8,000 members in Australia, who are employed in all aspects of electrical engineering and electronics.

The IEEE Milestones Awards programme recognises the technological innovation and excellence for the benefit of humanity found in unique products, services, and patents. They honour the achievements, rather than a place or person.

By Maggi Barnard