Niamph Williams & Hester Clark

The Duke of Edinburgh Award-The Tradition Continues at the SBCG

In 1956, Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh had a plan. He wanted to set up an awards program which would recognise adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement activities. The ultimate goal of the program being to help young people discover their full potential by finding their purpose, passion and place in the world.

Co-workers, mentors, friends. Natalia Ribeiro (L) and Hana Smith (R)

To achieve this award, each young person would need to participate in a four part process. A process which revolves around physical recreation, skills, community service and participating in a team adventure in a new environment. All while under the guidance of award leaders, supervisors and accessors.

Today the Duke of Edinburgh Award has expanded to 144 countries with over 8 million young adults having participated in the past 55 plus years of its existence. And in Australia alone, the Duke of Edinburgh Award has seen over 775,000 young people participate.

Young people like 14 year olds, Niamh Williams and Hester Clark of Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School in Terranora, NSW.

For a period of three months, both Niamh and Hester have collectively worked 26 hours under the guidance of SBCG

SBCG Propagation Tunnel
Planting Seedlings

Community Engagement Officer Di Gunther. In that time their activities and subsequent accomplishments have been numerous.

These activities and tasks involved garden projects including seeding and weeding along with general garden beautification projects. Projects such as designing murals for the garden white board and composting bins, installing and decorating the wooden frames around the garden’s worm farm baths and assisting garden member Hana

Smith decorate large bulk containers with colourful and engaging sunflower and bumble bee scenes.

Additionally, the two friends also designed a folder containing various seedlings that are distributed at community workshops so the recipients can see what the plant will look like once it matures. And at the Palmy Festival, Niamh

SBCG Wicking Beds
Creative Helping Hands

donated her time at the Children’s Workshop answering questions and assisting the ever inquisitive youngsters in preparing and taking home a decorated pot with their choice of seedling.

In the end, it’s simply safe to say, it’s been a very hands on few months for two very busy bees. All of which has been incredibly appreciated.

“The girls have been a credit to the youth of today,” says Gunther who adds such a positive experience will see her being

Palmy Festival
Niamh assisting at the Palmy Festival

very proactive in inviting many more young people into the garden. “The artwork they have helped create has been happy and injects colour into the garden space and ignites the imagination of all ages…More families have joined since the girls have been involved and when asked why, they simply state they enjoy the welcoming feeling they get when walking around the garden.”

As for how two teenagers managed to find themselves in the SBCG garden in the first place, that can be largely attributed to Niamh’s mother, Fiona, who, as fate would have it, herself participated in The Duke of Edinburgh back in 1988-89 while in school in Ireland. (Fittingly, Niamh’s father, Paul, completed his program in 1984-85 in England).

Fiona says she was struggling to find a project to fulfil the community service portion of the award until a couple lunch break discussions with Di—the two are co-workers in the mental health department  at Tweed Hospital– parted the clouds in what everyone seems to feel has been a very symbiotic working relationship.

Hester Clark & Niamph Williams
Beautification Projects and Smiles

“It’s been good to see how everyone at the garden works as a team to make projects come together,” says Hester.

And Niamh, “I now have a greater interest in doing planting and gardening projects at home,” before adding a sentiment both rising high schoolers share. “Thank you to Di, Hana and everyone else at the garden for making this such a positive experience.”

All of which is, no doubt, everything Prince Phillip could’ve hoped for.




Gail O'Neill & Friends AGM Gathering

SBCG’s November 2019 Annual General Meeting

Hello again,

It’s been a busy year at the Southern Beaches Community Garden here in Tugun with the Annual General Meeting held on 23 November, 2019 at the garden clubhouse a testimony to this.

With Division 14 Local Councillor Gail O’Neill and Director of the Tugun Community Bank Board, Bob Marshall in attendance, out-going SBCG President Di Gunther was able to highlight an extensive list of achievements and general progress over the past year.

Of course, it being the AGM, the ratification of new committee members (including filling the newly created position of Community Engagement Officer) was at the top of the day’s to do list.

As such, the current SBCG committee members are as follows:

President–Marian Evans

Gail O'Neill & Friends
The SBCG welcomes Councillor Gail O’Neill to their AGM.

Vice President—Duncan McLay

Treasurer—Mark Bibby

Grants Coordinator—Emma Scott

Secretary—Arch  Cruttenden

Membership Secretary—Doris Claussen

Community Engagement Officer—Di Gunther

Ordinary Voting Member—Peter Barrett

That accomplished, out-going President Di Gunther detailed a lengthy list of activities, developments and general accomplishments experienced by the garden over the past twelve months.

In regards to the garden grounds itself, one of the biggest developments this year was the result of an extra ordinary meeting held on 25/2/19 to discuss water supply issues. The consensus would be that the majority of SBCG gardeners want both rainwater collection and irrigated town water provided. This motion agreed upon, along with the continued support from Councillor Gail O’Neill on the matter, thus suggests the eventual expansion of garden beds is no longer an issue of ‘if’ but only of ‘when’.

Additionally, the SBCG continued in its ongoing endeavour of sharing sustainable and environmentally friendly gardening ideas and knowledge via free workshops in and around Southeast Queensland. Some of these included providing seedlings and potting workshops to:

  • The Palm Beach Bleach Festival
  • Coolangatta School.
  • During the Ocean Walk grand opening in Tugun.
  • The Shout Out Festival at the Tugun Skate Park with the help of Thrower House Participants.


The SBCG also continued its ongoing partnership with the Thrower House by actively participating in the Thrower House’s Easter Holiday Program while Judith Kilburn provided three free calligraphy courses to the Thrower House as part of their holiday program.

And a Hugelkulter and Wicking Bed workshop was put on for University of the Third Age and other community members by Mel Strange and Fran James.

As the above listed examples suggest, the SBCG and its 125 members were busy. And the best part…it’s only a small snapshot of EVERYTHING that was undertaken and accomplished. For the complete list, feel free to go to our website contact form and request a copy of the President Report be emailed to you.

Look it over and it’s a very safe bet you’ll be quite impressed with all this little garden club involves itself with and accomplished over the past 12 months.

In doing so, you will, no doubt, be equally impressed with the generosity of the grant providing benefactors that have provided so much of the resources to help the SBCG accomplish so much of what it has.

First and foremost on that list being the  Bendigo’s Tugun Community Bank.  Since day one, this group has backed the SBCG with this year’s grant donation of $4,200 for a new trailer bringing their total donations to the SBCG to nearly $30,000. It’s an impressive amount of money and we at the SBCG cannot say thank you enough for such steadfast generosity.

Additionally, the Gold Coast Airport awarded us just of $500 which will be put towards an irrigation system in our propagation tunnel while Mr. Ron Hesketh rounded up the troops repeatedly and, in conjunction with both Bunnings and Harvey Normans, helped fill the SBCG coffers compliments of numerous sausage sizzles.

And finally, there was the success in another very substantial grant, compliments of MP Karen Andrew’s Community Environmental Grant. The grant in conjunction with environmental eco-warriors, Worms Downunder, will allow the SBCG to purchase a ‘Double Grande Worm Habitat’ worm composter.

The addition of the Double Grande will allow the SBCG to process up to 40 litres of food and organic waste per day leaving in its wake ‘worm castings’, these being some of the most highly prized and nutrient rich, all natural fertiliser around. Access to such castings will be utilised as fertiliser for garden members and community members alike and will help to greatly reduce the vast amounts of biodegradable waste that unfortunately ends up producing harmful methane gasses in our already overflowing landfills.

The Double Grande Worm Composter is an exciting arrival to the SBCG and will be located beside the SBCG propagation tunnel.

Stay tuned for more posts regarding its pending arrival and other ongoing developments in the garden. And, again, for a complete run down of ALL of last year’s garden activities, go to our website and request a copy of the SBCG President’s Report be sent to you.

We hope to see you getting your hands dirty soon.