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Community & Business

1 August, 2022

Council Connections with Mayor Doug Batten - July 26

Today, Tuesday, marks exactly 100 years since the opening service of the St Ambrose Anglican Church. This was made possible following a kind donation, by the Anglican parishioners of Bournemouth in England, which recognised the citizens of the Gilgandra region as the community who made the greatest contribution from within the British Commonwealth towards the successful World War I campaign.

A Sunday service, officiated by Bishop Mark Calder of the Bathurst Dioceses, celebrated this centenary event. The service was followed by a morning tea which brought back memories of the wonderful suppers provided by the ladies of the Biddon CWA back in the 1960s and 70s. In celebrating this historic milestone, the congregation also acknowledged the challenges faced by both the Anglican Church and broader Gilgandra community in addressing some serious structural problems associated with footings and internal brickwork of the St Ambrose Anglican Church building.

Some preliminary work has been undertaken by council and my fellow councillor, Gail Babbage’s Brisbanebased employer, Heritage Architects, have been very generous in providing some options going forward.

Rectification of the issue will undoubtedly prove expensive; however it will provide an opportunity for the broader community to come together to ensure that in another 100 years residents of Gilgandra will be celebrating the bicentenary of our “Coo-ee” church.


A delightful Saturday afternoon at the picturesque McGrane Oval provided the perfect setting for another round of the Castlereagh rugby league, where the Gilgandra Panthers took on the Gulgong Terriers. The game resulted in a strong yet close result in favour of the Gilgandra team. A pleasing outcome for this season has been the number of our local juniors, who, although employed in Dubbo, have elected to come back home each weekend to play with their mates. It is this mateship that provides the backbone of local sport. Due to injuries, Saturday was one of the rare occasions over the last 10 years that one of the Hazelton clan did not take the field for the Panthers. This did not stop mum and dad, Robyn and Peter, contributing behind the scenes to make the day a success.


The inaugural meeting of the Economic Development Committee, which consists of 14 representatives from local business and the community, for this term of council will be held in August.

The business paper for this meeting illustrates some of the exciting issues being put forward for consideration by this committee, including events such as Shop Local, A Christmas Wonderland, A night Under the Gums, and support for the Come Home to Gilgandra Festival. Under the banner of ‘Grow Gilgandra’ the committee will also be considering local business programs such as BIG ideas, business signage project, business training workshops as well as the aforementioned Shop Local program.

Additionally, the committee will be canvassed for their thoughts in regards to the NSW streets as shared spaces funding. This relates to a successful state government grant of $365,000 for updates to the Community Plaza adjacent to the Gilgandra Pharmacy in Miller Street.

Also on the agenda for the meeting is an update on the Coo-ee Heritage Centre and upcoming tourism programs. These are indeed exciting times for the Gilgandra region and its residents.


Some of the best news in years has been associated with the release of preliminary 2021 Census figures that revealed that Gilgandra shire has had a 1.39 per cent increase in the population since 2016, to a total of 4295 residents. Excluding Dubbo Regional Council, Gilgandra is the only shire within the Orana region to experience population growth.

A positive population trend is important many areas, two that spring to mind are people considering making a tree-change can take confidence in the fact that real estate investments are secure, and that in this climate of state and federal government grants there is a willingness of government to invest in communities which are growing.

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