I have lived in the MacDonald valley for nearly 40 years. Initially at Bakers Creek, where I was for over 30 years and more recently at Upper MacDonald, where I am now located. Initially when I was working full time I was a weekender, however in the last couple of years after retiring from running my own business, which involved interstate and overseas travel I was able to retire and now spend the larger proportion of my time in the Valley.
In fact, I was the first Secretary of the MVA, when myself and Brian McKee as President were the only two on Committee. Mainly formed at that stage to assist in managing the natural environment. From there it became a much more active and larger organisation when John Saxby took over as President on the passing of Brian. At that stage I also became an Instructor of the local Pony Club and was involved in organising and helping with the various Endurance rides that took place in and around the valley.
In my corporate life I presided over my own Company board, which comprised of around 6 people.
I was also actively involved in several State and National Industry Boards within the recruitment industry and was made a Life Member. I was at various times President and Vice President of those bodies.
I was also on the NSW Committee and then the national Board of Australian Women’s Hockey and as Finance Director, during the most successful time in that team’s history.
Having retired I now feel I can give something back to the MacDonald Valley and would like to do this, in an active capacity within the MVA, where I believe I can add value from being a local resident for many years and with my other committee and Board experience.
Vice President / Valley for Wildlife
Attracted to the valley’s natural beauty and isolation, Linda and her partner Andy made the move to Wrights Creek over 10 years ago and these days live in the valley full-time. They found a diverse, intriguing and welcoming community and have formed friendships that are important in their lives.
A life-long equestrian, Linda loves the valley for its abundant trails and has succumbed to the sport of endurance riding that has such a strong history in the valley.
With a passion for nature conservation, bush regeneration and wildlife welfare, Linda is also a WIRES volunteer. As someone from a pioneering farming family herself (in the Western Districts of NSW) she has a keen interest in this area’s early settler and rich indigenous history.
From a professional perspective, Linda is one of Australia’s leading digital and media strategists. As a senior executive at the ABC, she played a pivotal role in the organisation’s digital transformation. She was the Manager of triple j, and as the Head of Audience Strategy and Digital, she oversaw the design of iView, ABC Listen, and ABC News online.
She left the ABC to pursue a portfolio career which is just a fancy way of saying being able to do a variety of work that interests you and allows you to live at the farm and have more time to ride.
Linda now works as a consultant to various organisations including SBS, the ABC and with Board Matters, a leading legal, board strategy and governance organisation.
A graduate and member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Linda is the Vice President of the Australian Horse Industry Council and on the Board of the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation, Australia’s oldest HIV/AIDS charity.
My husband and I made the official Tree Change in 2021 after being weekenders for a number of years. We built our house in the village and have recently bought another property adjacent to The Common on Wollombi Rd where we plan to run yoga workshops and retreats. Whilst we are land owners I’m a firm believer that no one really ‘’owns’’ the land and instead we have a responsibility to care for the land as best we can and pass it on in a better state than we found it. My current passion projects include learning about our indigenous and First Nations history, permaculture, bush tucker and bush medicine.
I’m a Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Brand Strategist by trade. After 25 years in the natural health industry I now consult and work from home which enables the freedom to indulge in my passion projects and to give back to the community.
I’m thrilled to be part of the MVA; to not only serve our amazing valley and its community, but also the opportunity to interact with so many new people that I would otherwise have not have had the pleasure of meeting!
I came to the valley in the late 1980s and immediately fell in love with its beauty and uniqueness.
My background includes: UNDP (Water and Ocean Governance); Coordinator of Sydney University Peace Studies (focus on the environment); the Sydney Peace Foundation (focus on human rights); Step into Work (to help women enter the work force); renewable energy advocate (reduce carbon emissions to limit global warming); and I have just signed up to St Albans RFS as assistant secretary.
I believe that The Macdonald Valley’s environment (I’m a member of weed whackers), and access to reliable, fast, affordable telecommunications are key concerns. Last month I made a submission to Federal Government inquiry to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review.
Making sure roads and ferries meet the needs of the local residents is also
paramount as well as supporting the arts: musicians, artists and writers; and recognition of the region’s first nations people and history.
I’m delighted to be part of the MVA and its work to support this community.
Community Emergency Response
I am part owner of Yanada retreat and have lived in the valley for 9 years. As a resident small business owner, I am grateful to be part of our close community that looks out for each other, provides opportunities and complements each other with our skills and talents.
In my first year at the MVA I have taken over the Community Emergency Response Plan (CERP) project and set up a sub-committee. We have obtained mapping information from Council and have liaised with the SES and RFS culminating in a community survey. This will inform the details of the plan to be rolled out next year. We have also prepared a federal grant application to provide UHF radios and emergency packs to all residents of the valley as part of the CERP project.
With over 30 years experience as a Town Planner, most of that in local government, I am familiar with committee structures. I have extensive experience in the voluntary sector; as a convenor, in Surf Lifesaving, in the former Valley Exchange Group project and, currently in the RFS.
I hope to continue to use my planning knowledge and relationships with staff in Hawkesbury Council to resolve the flood planning policy issues which impacts on many potential developments in the valley. This is a key aspect of the CERP project.
Originally from the UK, I emigrated to Australia with my husband, Rick, in 2001. We soon discovered St Albans and loved the Macdonald Valley so much we bought our place on Settlers Road soon after, and a few years later moved here permanently with our beloved doggie, Murphy.
I work in the software industry and can work from home much of the time as long as I have good communications. It was with this in mind that I agreed to join the MVA executive.
The telecommunications in our valley are woeful – good communications are a cornerstone to prosperity, safety and general wellbeing and need to be treated like any other core infrastructure of a thriving community and I intend to use my position on the MVA to champion this cause.
I have been a member of St Albans RFS since 2008
Diana and Wayne bought in the Valley 4 years ago and now live here permanently. During that time they’ve made many new friends, and shared the experience of floods, fires, and pestilence along with everyone else, which has only reinforced their love for the place, and the rightness of their decision to make this their forever home.
Early this year they purchased ‘the barn block’ in St Albans, with a view to putting a café plus some tailored timeshare commercial rooms on it – aiming to enable a range of community needs to be met with service providers having a per booking fee rather than long term rental commitments. This project is currently in the planning stages, after receiving initial feedback from Hawkesbury Council, and it is felt that it will take a year or two to make it real.
In the meantime, St Albans Village Market is operating on this site on the 2nd full weekend in every month, with a strong local community focus.
Having been on the receiving end of enormous support from the RFS during the Gosper’s Mountain firestorm, Diana said ‘you can’t only receive, you have to give back’ – which saw her join, and then become a part of the new St Albans RFS Comms Team, plus also contribute a variety of ex business computer equipment that was then shared between the St. Albans and Lower MacDonald brigades.
She also instigated the DVD exchange being set up, which now resides in the entrance to the School of Arts building.
Prior to retiring last year, Diana worked in a variety of business management functions across marketing, training, telecommunications and accounting with these experiences then being invaluable for her and Wayne in building their electrical contracting business.
Roads and Ferries
I live at the settlers arms inn at St Albans with my wife Tilly and our young son Freddy I am very passionate about the valley it’s infrastructural sometimes lack of and the great people who live in it and the people who come and visit.
I like being on the MVA Committee so that between the committee members and myself we can try and make a difference for our Valley.
Catherine du Peloux Menage
I have had a property in St Albans for 20 years and my husband and I spend an increasing amount of time here. We have been members of the MVA for many years.
In terms of community involvement, some years ago I was involved in co-creating the St Albans Writers Festival, and in 2019 I helped with meals at the Fireshed during the fires. Currently I am both a volunteer and teach at Macdonald Valley Public School.
I look forward to contributing more to the community of our wonderful valley by working with the MVA Committee