Known now as North Arm Cove Community Association Inc, abbreviated to NACCAi, this organisation can trace its history back to the mid-sixties when a group of community-minded residents met in a Cove Boulevard back garden and formed the ‘village association’. These meetings were the catalyst for the formation of the Fire Brigade and, later, Neighbourhood Watch.
In the early nineties, as the fire station was being built, members would bring their own chairs, at first meeting in, what is now the kitchen of the station, later moving into the truck bay.
At this time the association became incorporated and was renamed ‘North Arm Cove Progress Association Inc’ and the idea was mooted to build a community centre.
In 1993/94 the major obstacle for the association was obtaining community land on which to build the much-needed centre but luckily land became available at Lot 31 The Ridgeway and a deputation from the association obtained agreement from Great Lakes Council that this would be ‘dedicated for community use.’
With the land secured, Bernie May, association president at the time, together with this wife Patricia, donated a 1950’s house they owned in Raymond Terrace.
The association were then successful in obtaining a Department of Planning Area Assistance grant of $19,737, and an $8,000 council grant which enabled them to transport the house to the cove. With careful management, under the direction of Les Oxenbridge, a team of incredibly committed volunteers set about transforming the house in to a multi-purpose community centre.
October 12, 1996 was a red letter day when the then Port Stephens MP Bob Martin, former Labor MP Bob Horne, Cr Bob Stuart, and Federal MP Bob Baldwin attended the opening and the progress association said ‘thank you’ to the community by inviting everyone to a meal at the centre!
Great Lakes Council appointed a S355 Committee of Management made up of local residents and they held their first meeting in July 1996.
© Maureen Kelly, OAM 2012