Thanks for another amazing year, WL! We’re reminded daily of what a great community we live in, with so many people willing to help each other out and share what’s great about this beautiful part of the world. Here’s a look back at some of the most popular topics, posts and pics of the year for Willoughby Living…
1.One of our own, Tiffany Thomas Kane, won Gold and Silver medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Swimming Championships. And she’s only 17!
2. The very popular Aquapark made a splash at Northbridge Baths again providing fun for kids and adults alike. (Looks like it’s making a comeback this summer too.)
3. The Beaches Link Tunnel and the fight for Flatrock Gully caused a stir – this topic was undoubtedly the one to feature in the most posts throughout the year with many concerned about the stacks being unfiltered, the loss of regenerated bushland and fauna, and the environmental impacts of digging in an old rubbish dump. Urged WL member, Susan Enners “The Northern Beaches tunnel will destroy Flat Rock Gully and Tunks Park, pollute our water and air, and create constant noise pollution throughout the process. Oh, and it will destroy the local ecosystem and remove our green spaces. Sign the petition to give the Liberals the chance to drop the construction plans before the election. And if they don’t, come Election Day, vote Labour.”
4. There was Royal fever when Prince Harry and Meghan landed on the lower North Shore this year, not long after their wedding. They spent some time at nearby Taronga Zoo, Harry scaled the Harbour Bridge, they met up with local member, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, but the most heartwarming local connection was when Prince Harry caught up with 98-year-old war widow from Willoughby, Daphne Dunne. It was the third meeting for the pair, and Prince Harry looked extremely happy to introduce his dear old friend to Meghan, who reportedly told Daphne that they might have their little one with them the next time they met.
5. Shockwaves were felt throughout the community with the closure of two High St, Willoughby institutions – High St Deli and Chargrill Charlies. Thankfully the latter was just for a refurbishment and there was a collective sigh of relief and a rush for the ticket machine when Chargrill Charlie’s reopened.
6. The Avenues put on another incredible Halloween party for the entire community, and a new WL legend emerged – Cecil the Skeleton, courtesy of the wonderful Luty family.
(Pic credit: Mali Luty)
7. Extreme weather had everyone talking – and running for cover! From dust storms to amazing lightning, wind and floods, and even giant hail – it was a year of wild conditions, but certainly made for some amazing images…
(pic credit: Robin Moon)
(pic credits: Lisa Hooper, Fiona Burke and Bree Peter)
8. When the community’s beloved crossing guard, Rose Hazlewood passed away, we received the greatest outpouring of love and gratitude on WL ever. Tribute posts poured in, and were mirrored by the masses of floral tributes at Rose’s Crossing. Many WL members suggested ways to honour Rose permanently, and Mayor Gail recently let the community know that Willoughby Council would be funding a plaque at the High St Crossing to formally recognise the contribution of Rose Hazelwood to our community. There was also a Christmas tribute event held recently at the Quadrangle in Castlecrag. One of the most poignant images posted came from WL member Scott Danger Hermann, who shared a pic from his last day at school with Rose at her crossing – it was taken in 2001 (below).
(Image credit: Kirsten Delaney)
9. A jar made WL history by becoming the most in-demand item up for grabs. With one of the funniest posts of the year, Daniel Barber introduced his garlic and jalapeño juice jar and wondered if anyone would like to take it off his hands. It resulted in hundreds of tongue-in-cheek comments from would-be jar owners – and a whole lot of laughs across the community. Did it sell? Well no, but according to Daniel it’s doing quite well: “the actual jar has been signed up by a media agency and has a series of photo shoots and interviews booked in, including Graham Norton,” he commented. Due to its busy schedule the jar was unavailable for comment, but we hope to feature it in a brand new series for 2019 titled ‘Jars of Willoughby’.
10. We met so many more great Humans of Willoughby, including Harry Wilson (retiring WPS General Assistant), Isaac Mayer (saving the world with bee hives at the age of 14), and beloved Gymbaroo instructor Donna Stuart.
And just towards the end of the year an amazing human stepped forward and submitted a post that warmed everyone’s hearts. Peta Di Palma showed the true spirit of community with her invitation to anyone who would like to join her for Christmas – and the result was an outpouring of gratitude, support and a resounding cheer from hundreds of members. Many offered to help and donate items and Peta reported back after a wonderful Christmas lunch was held to say everyone who came were only “strangers till the first hello.” Peta’s original post can be read here:
“It’s exactly 1 week until Christmas Day and this time of year can be particularly difficult for many of us.
Without going into the details, I know first hand just how challenging it can be. Being without loved ones or feeling unloved and cherished on Christmas Day is something none of us should face. But we do. We face it on birthday’s, at Easter, on anniversaries and first anniversaries, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and so it goes on…
I don’t want you to be alone on Christmas Day. If you feel lonely, or you don’t have anyone to spend time with on Christmas Day, you are invited to join my son and I for a roast lunch on December 25.
Send me a PM if this will help you feel less isolated and alone. We’d love to meet you and bring some joy to your life.
Merry Christmas everyone”.
(image credit: Peta Di Palma)
*Top image of Willoughby Park, and one of the community’s favourites this year, by Erin Mikan
Happy New Year, Willoughby Living!