Back in March, Scone, a town with a population of around 6,500 people, was named NSW Tidy Towns Sustainable Community winner.
No one could have been more surprised than the group’s president, Lynda Posa. They have only been in existence for three years and to have this huge accolade bestowed upon them was something none of the small committee’s members dreamed of.
The group formally started in 2021 but as Lynda said, no projects happened for a long time because of covid restrictions.
As soon as they could, they kicked off their first program, a community garden within the Historical Society grounds and the Upper Hunter Shire Council supported the initiative with some funding.
They then organised a garden ramble to showcase some of the district’s beautiful gardens, an event supported by the Tidy Towns small crew.
It showcased sustainability and the sense of community that Tidy Towns has as its main reason to exist.
Partnerships are another means of addressing a community’s needs and collaboration is key to success.
“As a collective we can all work together to achieve great community outcomes. Small towns like Scone will move forward when groups such as Lions, Rotary, CWA and others join forces,” Lynda said.
Lynda also runs a nursery in Scone, Plants on Main, and said the conversations she strikes with customers about the town sparks interest in Tidy Towns and what is happening locally.
She has always volunteered and suggests it comes from a family of volunteers and feeling better about herself when she is involved.
Scone is a great community town, and it is certainly demonstrated when disaster or tragedy strikes. In recent years there has been plenty of these instances with drought, floods and the pandemic revealing the strong sense of community in the town.
“Anyone can lend a hand, it might be cutting a couple of kilos of tomatoes, kids picking tomatoes, anything and everything helps,” she said.
Scone will be judged for the national Tidy Towns title on April 27 and for the first time, a New South Wales entrant will be judged electronically.
There will be a zoom meeting with the judge and Lynda was quick to thank all of the team, particularly Ian Judd who has helped bring the Scone presentation together.
“Ian has a wealth of knowledge, is extremely enthusiastic and makes things happen,” Lynda said.
Judging usually involves an eight-hour visit to the State winner so the assessor can see the projects and experience the community first-hand, but Lynda said she understands the change.
“We were so overwhelmed when Scone won given we are quite novice to the process and given the outcomes of the pandemic, this sort of change is becoming the norm,” she said.
Lynda and her husband, Nick, moved to Scone in 2000 from Western Australia where they managed Heytesbury Stud.
They met while both working at Fossil Downs Station, also in Western Australia, where Lynda was cooking for four to eight people.
Disaster struck by way of a one in a one hundred year flood and people arrived from all over to help. It was during that time she received a cheque for $100 in a typed envelope by post from the Red Cross. The memory of receiving that financial support at a time when she was so destitute still brings tears to her eyes.
“Four of us, all young women, received $100 each and I was overwhelmed to receive it, I really could not believe it, $100 was a lot of money to us,” Lynda said.
Perhaps this is why she helped to establish a local branch in Murrurundi. Lynda’s property is 30 minutes from Scone and 15 from Murrurundi so she has been involved in that small town community as well.
Lynda is not comfortable being called a Community Champion but encourages people to get involved in their community.
“You meet great people, make great friends and the outcome is a more connected, happier community for everyone to enjoy.”