On Wednesday the 11th of March we were delighted to host a party to celebrate 21 years of operation of Billabong Clubhouse here in Tamworth.
With Splendid Autumn weather, we hosted the event with the back deck playing centre stage looking out over our reinvigorated veggie garden and green lawn. Thank goodness for the recent rains. With a good crowd in attendance guests were welcomed to country by Buddy Knox and then placed in the hands of our MC for the night, Mr Joe Miller. Speeches for the evening included, former member for Tamworth & New England Tony Windsor, Hon member Barnaby Joyce
Member for New England, Clubhouse pioneer Joan Wakeford and foundation member Kevin Stockwell. Distinguished guests also included the board consisting of; Alan Avery President, Mal McPherson
Secretary, Steve Cohen Treasurer as well as Board members Leslie Douglas, Kim Usher, Kevin Ezzy.
Hunter New England Local health District representatives Jodie-Anne Bertoldi and Ailsa Mackenzie. Peter Wakeford, Councillors Helen Tickle and Russell Webb, pioneer Chris Attard.
If I have missed you I apologise.
After the speeches were made there was a ceremonial tree planting to mark the recognition of the past 21 years as well as the new growth in years ahead. Tony Windsor and Joan Wakeford were invited to plant the tree as they were both integral to the clubhouse getting off the ground. I have been lucky enough to sit down with Joan and hear a bit of history as to the trials and tribulations of Billabong and it’s a testament to a lot of hard working people over the 21 years that we are here today.
After the official ceremonies, we were entertained by the amazing tunes of both Buddy Knox and his Daughter as well Mark Atkins and Band. Whilst this was happening there were many stories being reminisced, lots of old faces recognised and lots of enthusiasm and faith in the future of Billabong Clubhouse.
As operations manager I would like to thank all past members, staff and board. As anyone who knows about billabong Clubhouse we are very unique and that’s what makes us special.
To the current members, staff and board, we all look forward to an exciting future for Billabong with the aim of making Billabong Clubhouse a place that is spoken of highly in mental health conversations.
Congratulation’s everyone on 21 years!
Jeff Faint – Operations Manager