This association was started by local creative people in the Shoalhaven in 1991, and soon set some key strategic aims – primarily to have the Shoalhaven City Council create an initial arts officer position to liaise with local groups in promoting the arts; and to establish some dedicated "arts spaces" to further reinforce arts activities and involve the wider community. After active networking and campaigning by these people, Arts Shoalhaven Incorporated was established in April 1993. It’s first committee included Rona Walker as president; Jenny Robertson vice president; Bronwyn Clarke secretary; and Trudi Voorwinden – treasurer. Of these pioneers, Rona and Trudi have maintained their membership right up till 2005 – and we salute all that founding committee and the many other members who have also continuously helped meet our aims with their membership subscriptions.

The key aims of our group have been achieved - with Council appointing an arts officer (now Allan Baptist, who also had been our president during the late 1990s), then later an arts board to deal with strategies and funding in this region. We saw provision of community spaces for arts purposes in Milton, Huskisson, and then last year’s opening of the new Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in Nowra – which has been continuously used since, and has added a cultural dimension which this area had lacked. Our group’s and members’ lobbying and fund-raising for arts causes has been persistent - even when needing to suddenly convene an action group during 2002/2003 when Council members wavered in their commitment, and almost retreated from this important project.

Within its own management (all voluntary part-time !) Arts Shoalhaven collaborated in ‘arts fest’ events – starting with ‘Arts At The Pavilion’ - a combined visual arts crafts event held at the Nowra Showground Pavilion and planned by Jenny Robertson and Bronwyn Clarke in conjunction with a Rural Fire Services event . Over 70 artists were involved, including many of our original members.

Annual ArtsFeasts were organised, and our early committee member Ross Kalenderidis organised Musicfests at Huskisson and Kangaroo Valley. Later the first community event we held at Bundanon was Artsfeast 94’, as well as a series of workshops. Arts Shoalhaven was also involved in hosting Musica Viva events during these years.

Later in this decade this group launched and financially subsidised the Shoalhaven Circle of Excellence national competitions for short stories - starting in 1999, (again in 2000, 2001, 2003); and then for photography in 2002, 2004 in co-operation with the Shoalhaven Photo Club.

Auspicing help by Arts Shoalhaven was also provided to various local events like the Point-to-Point exhibitions in the south Shoalhaven, Bird Parliament performances in Shoalhaven and Sydney, and the Shoalhaven Poetry Festival in 2004.

Arts Shoalhaven presented the Arts Space Your Space festival at Berry Courthouse in 2002 – many of these events were co-funded by arts board grants, and the contributions from members and other creative artists toward an "arts space" fund for such purposes. We had also welcomed and supported emergence of ongoing local festivals like Tabula Rasa in Milton-Ulladulla, and See Change in Jervis Bay – often involving our members - and most recently the "Arts in Action" quarterly festivals being introduced in 2004 at the new arts centre with Shoalhaven Art Society. 


Arts Shoalhaven has provided administrative and management support for the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra during 2000-2004 … and it has given great satisfaction to see this cultural asset develop, with its individual players, and to see it advance into 2005 as an independent body with its own incorporation.


Arts Shoalhaven and its members have also taken an active role in fund-raising for local arts purposes – our members like Anna Glynn and Rona Walker having great success with the Earthly Delights sculpture garden and other exhibitions from which they generously donated income to the ongoing arts space fund which has enabled many of our events to proceed. In 2001 we were accepted for listing in the Register of Cultural Organisations, to enable tax-deductible receipts to be given for donations. This has helped in projects like our Art$Fund mail fund-raising appeal, and more recently the project launched in late 2003 to fund a new grand piano for Nowra, in co-operation with Music Shoalhaven and Shoalhaven Eisteddfod.

2001 also saw implementation of the website ( used to provide group members with free web pages on their organisations & events, and it has developed into a useful reference for public lookup on the wide range of arts & crafts activities in this region.


Members will also be aware of the content, quality and regularity of our bi-monthly newsletter .... Colleen Duncan has edited and produced it for us over many years and it has achieved wide regard.


So after almost fifteen years, we’re sad that our organisation could not continue – but proud of its achievements, and those of the members who made it happen.

Your executive committee …