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Eds: This column introduces the new Progress Association President, Bruce Wilson, to the community

Thank you for the honour of election to this role. I am a retired government environmental lawyer and business manager, now running our family businesses here in Sydney and the Upper Hunter. I am a former president of the Castlecrag Sports Club, last President of Castlecrag Infant School P&C and a member of the Council’s Haven Amphitheatre Sub-Committee. I have a particular interest in encouraging friendship between neighbours and reinvigorating the peninsula’s sense of community, which can be summed up as: ‘Think local, Buy local, Employ local’.

What sort of ‘community’ are we in Castlecrag in 2007?

I have set out some demographic data from the 2006 Australian Census on Castlecrag. While interesting, this data tells only a small part of the picture. How do we fit together socially, economically and environmentally? Are our natural and geographical blessings used to full advantage?

From the 1920s to the 1950s, Castlecrag was noted “as an experiment in communal and community planning and living, and for the intellectual, Theosophical, Anthroposophical and Natural history views of its inhabitants”. Cars were few, residents lived more frugally, partly in fear of another Depression, and partly recognising that “the best things in life are free.” These included strolls, picnics, dropping-in, rock-fishing, dinghy sailing, gardening, scouts and church fellowships. It was a diverse community of communists and capitalists who set aside their weekday differences to work shoulder-to-shoulder on weekends building the Community Centre and other facilities.

Today the Crag is richer in median income and assets. What the Census doesn’t show is how many here are poorer in ‘free-time’ and relationships with fellow-residents, dependent on cars, with latch-key kids and joyless consumption. The Crag still has a remarkable 14 varied community associations, but these need reinvigoration by our 30-40 year olds. Our recent Castlecrag Fair was a wonderful ‘community occasion’, thanks to Simone Selby and generous local businesses who contributed to the occasion.

In order to build on this community spirit the Progress Association is seeking your ideas and support. What other events could we undertake? How would YOU describe the Castlecrag “community” today? And what would you like it to be in 8 years’ time, 2015?

Let us know your ideas in 20-50 words by emailing to: or drop a note to PO Box 4259, Castlecrag. Better still, come along to the General Meeting on 21 August at 7.30pm (with a surprise special guest) and enjoy talking around these and other local issues over a cuppa or a vino at our Community Centre. We are particularly keen to hear from teenagers and the 30-40 year-old residents.

Bruce Wilson