The History of SBUG
This history of the Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group was revised by Jim Florence over a period of time commencing July 2022. All names, times, and events have been verified by the Shoalhaven BUG minutes and other documentation, dating back to 1997, including the pre BUG working committee minutes.
It is a dynamic document that will be updated at least annually after every Annual General Meeting or any other significant event.
Pre SBUG Launch 1997
Duncan Marshall, Jim Florence, and Tony Farmilo were on a Shoalhaven City Council cycleways advisory committee, and after the committee disbanded, they got together and talked about forming a cyclist’s lobby group, and Tony suggested a BUG affiliated with Bicycle New South Wales (BNSW), as Tony had experience with BUGs in South Australia. BUGs are affiliated with BNSW but deal with cycling issues at a Local Government level.
Unverified: Relying on discussions between Jim Florence and Tony Farmilo
The Public Meeting
A public meeting, organised by Naomi Spencer to gauge interest, was called and about thirty people attended a meeting at the Defence Member and Family Support Centre in Nowra. From this meeting a steering group was formed to progress the establishment of the BUG. This meeting took place on Tuesday 22 July 1997. Other details are sketchy, and attendees unknown.
Verification: The date was referred to in the September 97 minutes. Minutes of the actual public meeting were either not taken or lost.
Steering Committee Meetings
Two steering committee meetings were held on 19 August 1997 and 2 September 1997. These were chaired by Tony Farmilo.
Present at the first meeting were Tony Farmilo, Guy Cooper, Jim Florence, Chris Langmaid, Duncan Marshall, APOLOGY: Naomi Spencer.
Verification: Minutes held on the BUG website.
Present at the second meeting, where a number of recommendations were discussed and accepted, were Guy Cooper, Tony Farmilo, Jim Florence, Chris Langmaid, Duncan Marshall, Rod McDonald.
Verification: Minutes held on the BUG website.
The First Annual General Meeting
The first AGM was then held on 24 September 1997 where a committee was elected. This is generally accepted as the birthday of the BUG. Present were Rob Sylvester, Guy Cooper, Mary Barber, Joe Davidson, Paul O’Dowd, Donna Farmilo, Grant Weyman, Chris Langmaid, Mark Munnoch, Alan Batchelor, Jim Florence, Gordon Clark, Terry Threlfall, Duncan Marshall, Tony Farmilo. APOLOGY Naomi Spencer.
The duly elected first Committee was: President Donna Farmilo, Secretary Jim Florence, Treasurer Chris Langmaid, Ride Leader Tony Farmilo, Committee members Rob Sylvester and Grant Weyman.
The AGM was then followed by the first monthly meeting.
Verification: Minutes held on the BUG website.
The next monthly meeting was on Wednesday 8 October 1997 (this was actually a committee meeting, but these eventually became general meetings) and from then on up until recently all monthly meetings were held on the first Wednesday of the month.
Verification: Minutes held on the BUG website.
One of the discussion points was should the BUG be Nowra BUG or Shoalhaven BUG, and our choice of Shoalhaven BUG was to include the whole LGA as that was who we represented in our affiliation with BNSW.
Not verified: Discussion between Tony Farmilo and Jim Florence.
Although the intent of the BUG was to be a group to lobby for better cycling infrastructure it quickly evolved into a recreational riding group as well. A check of the 1998 minutes indicated that a “dawdle” was held on the first Saturday of the month, and the next three Sundays would include a more demanding road ride, an off-road ride, and a ride in the southern parts of the Shoalhaven. The off-road rides were usually led by Grant Weyman who had a good knowledge of the bush through motor cycling.
As confidence increased there were more challenging ride such as Meryla Pass and other challenging off-road rides, and annual Shoalhaven Century (100km), rides to Kiama, and a number of other road rides.
Verification: various 1998 monthly minutes
EVOLUTION OF THE SBUG RIDES
Our rides calendar has evolved and changed over the years. The Sunday rides have remained but below is a summary of other regular rides that came and went and are still going.
Tom’s Mid- Week Wednesday Ride
At the beginning of 2000 Tom McDonald started our first mid-week ride every Wednesday known as the mid-week meander this was a on road easy ride. It was finally discontinued in April 2002.
Comment by the author: Back then a comprehensive ride report was included in the minutes. It is interesting to note from the minutes over this period of time that this ride met with mixed success. One comment (attributed to the author) when the ride was discontinued was “it’s a bit much to expect a mid-week ride to be a success”.
Verification: January 2000 minutes through to April 2002 minutes.
Tom’s Mid- Week Thursday Ride
Tom’s mid-week ride restarted as a mid-week Thursday ride. The exact date it commenced is unknown, but the May 2003 minutes mention the ride in the ride report and the minutes during 2004 consistently mention Tom’s mid-week Thursday ride.
Verification: May 2003 minutes and various minutes during 2004
Tom resigned from leading this ride in June 2006, and Jan Furyk took over as Ride Leader. Jan announced in early 2021 she was relocating, and Richard Dwyer has been the main Ride Leader since that time.
Verification: June 2006 minutes
Saturday Morning Ride
This ride began in 2005 when Bob Burton and Tom Hemmington started to do regular fast roadie rides out to Greenwell Point on Saturday morning. Other BUG members started doing the ride and it was put on the BUG calendar in 2005. At various times it has been divided into a fast and slow group. Tom Hemmington was the original ride leader, with Jamie Matthew taking over from June 2009 to April 2011. Peter Hewlett has been Ride Leader at various times. The ride is still going with Mel Gillott the current Ride Leader as at 03 Oct 2002.
Verification: April 2005 minutes
In December 2021 it was proposed at the monthly meeting that the Saturday morning ride be changed from Greenwell Point to a ride to Parma Road via Albatross Road and Nerriga Road and return via the highway. This met with a lot of resistance, so a compromise was that we have two Saturday rides as we have numbers to support two rides. This ride is usually led by Barry Cruwys.
Verification: Dec 2021 minutes
Berry Monday Ride
This ride started in May 2006 as an official BUG ride, riding return to Berry via Bolong Road, Back Forest Road and Shoalhaven Heads Road and is still going as of 18 July 2022 with Jim Florence as the usual ride Leader. At various times it has been divided into a fast and slow group. This ride has since been discontinued and as at 21 May 2023 there is now only one Berry ride.
Verification: June 2006 minutes.
In December 2021 a second Berry ride was started, riding as a combined group to Berry, and the second group led by Peter Hewlett returning via Agars Lane.
Verification: Dec 2021 minutes.
Easy Alternate Saturday Morning Ride
This ride was from the Tourist Information Centre to Cambewarra and return and was led by Jim Florence. Exact start date and finish date unknown, but it was short lived. It was referenced in the May 2009 and September 2009 minutes.
After this Tom McDonald also led easy Saturday morning rides for a period of time but dates cannot be verified.
Verification: May 2009 and September 2009 minutes.
Due to the deterioration of Terara Rd, Jindy Andy Lane, and Greenwell Point Road after three years of heavy rain the ride leader in consultation with the committee decided to suspend the Greenwell Point Saturday morning ride, replacing the rides until the roads were made safer for cyclists. The first alternative ride we did on 15 October 2022 was to Longreach and return via Albatross Road, Cabbage Tree Lane and Yalwal Road. With improvements to the road the ride recommenced in early 2023.
Verification: Committee meeting 10 October 2022 minutes.
Wednesday Easy Ride
BUG members had started doing an easy ride to the Comerong Island punt each month on a Wednesday, sometime around 2014. At the monthly meeting held 06 Aug 2014 it was decided to put this ride onto the calendar as an official weekly ride.
Verification: August 2014 minutes
At the August 2015 monthly meeting it was decided that on the first Wednesday of the month this easy ride would be an Albatross Road / Cabbage Tree Lane / University and back to Nowra ride. This ride is commonly known as the Mundamia ride.
Verification: August 2015 minutes
At the May 2017 meeting it was decided the third Wednesday of the month would be a Vincentia / Huskisson loop starting at Woollamia.
Verification: May 2017 minutes
The ride to the punt is no longer part of the Wednesday easy rides program. The Mundamia and Vincentia rides are on alternate Wednesdays with the Mundamia ride first of the month. There are currently two rides on the Vincentia Wednesdays, one fast ride starting from the Falls Creek Rural Fire Station and a second ride starting from Woollamia. If there is a fifth Wednesday in the month, the ride is North Nowra to Cambewarra return.
ICONIC AND SPECIAL BUG RIDES
The first Bike week ride was in September 1998. BUG member Duncan Marshall was the Shoalhaven City Council Road Safety Officer and was responsible for the running of Bike Week. It was quite a big event for many years that ran the whole weekend with give aways and BUG led bike rides. After Duncan retired the event was scaled down but has been carried on usually with some BUG involvement. It was cancelled during the COVID era of 2020/21 but is expected to go ahead in the future.
Verification of first ride date: September and October 1998 minutes
Sydney to the Gong
First Sydney to Wollongong ride 4 November 1998. The BUG hired a bus for this event, and it was open to everyone, not just BUG members. This continued until 2004, with a break in 2005 because of lack of numbers, and returned for the last time in 2006.
Verification: Nov 1998 minutes and Oct 2004 minutes, and June 2006 minutes.
Shoalhaven Century Rides (100km)
Shoalhaven Century Ride (100km) started 23 May 1998 and was an annual event for many years. Unable to verify when this ride ended.
Verification: May 1998 minutes
The Links in the Chain – 100 Years of Federation ride to Canberra took place in May 2001 and was a ride from Nowra to Canberra to celebrate the Centenary of Federation. The mayor farewelled the 34 riders who included three from Wollongong and one from Melbourne. This was a national event coming from all corners of Australia to converge on Canberra to celebrate 100 years of federation. The riders departed in early May. The exact date of departure is unknown.
Verification: May 2001 minutes
Shoalhaven Cycling Weekend
The first weekend was held over 17/18 November 2006. Judi Puru and a subcommittee organised these November weekends and included rides to Greenwell Point, The Punt via Terara, the Fleet Air Arm Aviation Museum and Berry. Typically, we would get about 150 people from all over NSW, usually from other BUGs. They were accommodated at M and M’s guesthouse. The rides continued annually up to and including 2011.
Verification: Nov and Dec 2006 minutes and Aug 2012 minutes.
BUG MILESTONES AND SPECIAL EVENTS
Collingwood Beach Shared Path
What is now a very popular and well used shared path almost didn’t eventuate due to resistance from some Vincentia residents, in particular those who live along Collingwood Beach. The BUG, along with other people and organisations, supported and lobbied very hard for the construction of this path to go ahead and it was finally completed at the end of 2000.
Verification: Dec 1998 minutes
Collection of Bikes for East Timor
Terry Threlfall assisted by some other BUG members collected 270 bikes of varying condition, for distribution to East Timor. Working bees were held at Terry’s place over a number of weeks to make these bikes useable. The minutes show it was many months and even years before all these bikes were collected and shipped to East Timor.
Verification: July to Dec 2002 minutes.
WESTPAC Helicopter Charity ride and Fundraising
On 24 November 2002 a charity ride was held from Nowra to Greenwell Point for a fish and chips lunch in aid of the WESTPAC helicopter, raising $2500. As well as the ride, a bike shirt was raffled, and donation tins were rattled on a Saturday morning outside the Westpac bank.
Verification: Nov and Dec 2002 minutes
Currambene State Forest Off Road Signage and Mapping
At a meeting held in August 2004 Ernie Fenske advised the meeting that he had been liaising with State Forests of NSW to set up colour coded trail indicators and maps of the tails in Currambene State Forest. He asks the BUG to support this initiative and for the BUG to get involved. He sought permission for him to continue the project as BUG representative. The meeting agreed and this was that start of a major project involving Ernie and many other BUG volunteers. In April 2005 NPW & S approved the project and work began.
This project was completed in 2005.
Verification: AUG 2004 minutes and various 2005 minutes
10th Anniversary Celebrations
A tenth anniversary dinner was held at The Nowra Steakhouse with guests of honour Tony and Donna Farmilo who are considered to be the founders of the BUG. Terry Threlfall was MC, and awards were made to Tony and Donna Farmilo, Tom McDonald and Jim Florence. Tom was honoured with the award of BUG Patron.
SBUG Becomes Incorporated
Early 2011 the BUG became aware that it was no longer affiliated with Bicycle NSW because the BUG was not incorporated, which among other things left the BUG and its ride leaders exposed because of lack of insurance. To become incorporated we needed to register with, and lodge a constitution with, the Department of Fair Trading, and have a record of membership. Prior to this the BUG did not have any records of who its members were and how many members it had.
A constitution was drawn up and accepted by the members.
Being incorporated, having a constitution, and a record of membership had the following effect:
The BUG now has a Membership Secretary who keeps a record of every member and their relevant details.
An annual membership fee was introduced to replace the gold coin donations that had been collected before the Sunday and Thursday rides.
The official date of incorporation is 16 February 2011.
Verification: BUG minutes throughout 2011, BUG constitution, and Certificate of Incorporation from the Department of Fair Trading
SBUG Website Operational
Webmaster Bob Lavender reported that the Shoalhaven BUG website was operational.
Verification: 2013 AGM
Membership Database Operational
Wayne Beckenham reported at a meeting in December 2012 that a complete membership list had been completed. This was very significant as it was the first time the BUG had a complete list of members. This list was used to develop a comprehensive database to manage all membership details and to produce reports for the committee.
Verification: Dec 2012 minutes
Change to SBUG Constitution, 5 June 2013
At a Special General Meeting held on the 5 June 2013 the constitution was altered to define the role of the Patron and introduce Life Memberships. This change included a provision that the Patron gets automatic Life Membership.
Verification: SGM minutes dated 5 May 2013
Changes to SBUG Constitution, 3 December 2014
Membership renewals changed from first Wednesday in March to 1st July.
Verification: SGM minutes dated 3 December 2014.
BUG constitution is rewritten and updated and ratified at the 2019 AGM.
Verification: 2019 AGM
BUG Enters Team in Nowra Triathlon.
The following BUG members participated in the Nowra triathlon in all three disciplines.
Ray Martin, Julie Bourke, Lyn McGregor, Warwick Mottram, Bill Broughton, Monica Palczewski, Gary Catt, Amanda McFeeters, Jim Florence, and Mel Gillott.
The BUG also entered the Huskisson triathlon some years before although there is nothing in the minutes to verify dates or participants.
Verification: May 2016 minutes
SBUG 20th Anniversary Celebration
On the 4th of March 2017 the BUG celebrated its 20th anniversary at The Butter Factory Restaurant. In attendance were founding members Terry Threlfall (still a member), Duncan Marshall, Jim Florence (still a member) Naomi Spencer (has since renewed her membership) with apologies from Tony and Donna Farmilo. All original members were presented with certificates of appreciation. There were speeches from a number of people, and much reminiscing. Also present representing the Shoalhaven City Council was Councilor Nina Cheyne.
Verification: April 2017 minutes
Conjola Bike Festival
On Saturday 20th May 2023 The BUG participated in the Conjola Bike Festival. This festival was organised by BUG member Sharon Whittaker and sponsored by Anglicare as part of the NSW Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Program. As well as BUG, five bike groups centred around the Milton / Ulladulla area took part. There were displays, live music, face painting, bike maintenance workshops. It was a great opportunity to network with likeminded people and the BUG started the day with a combined ride with Milton Ulladulla cyclists and gravel riders club.
Verification: June 2023 minutes.
RIDE LEADER HISTORY
The First Ride Leader
Paul Coombes (ride coordinator) became the first BUG member to become an accredited leader after attending a Bicycle NSW Ride Leader seminar in April 2003. Paul was then able to nominate others within the BUG to lead rides. Up to this point it was not necessary to be a Bicycle NSW accredited ride leader.
Verification: April and May 03 minutes
Ride Leader Training
The first BNSW ride leader training took place at Kiama on 9 December 2006. Participants were Cathy Bennett, Ernie Fenske, Jim Florence, Tom Hemmington, Jan Furyk, Peter Hewlett. Prior to this Paul Coombes as Ride Coordinator had received accreditation and could nominate ride leaders within the BUG.
Verification: Dec 2006 minutes
BNSW training took place at Kiama in conjunction with Kiama BUG on 04 May 2011. Participants were Paul Cooper, Menno Van Doorn, and John Van Duin.
Verification: April, June and AGM 2011 minutes
BNSW ride leader training took place Minnamurra on 25 August 2012. Participants were Chris Bellamy, Kathy Beckenham, Wayne Beckenham, Bill Hughes, Warwick Mottram and a number of actors.
Verification: Aug 2012 minutes
BNSW ride leader theory training took place at the home of Wayne and Kathy Beckenham on 12th April 2015, facilitated by Werner Steyer an BNSW accredited Master Ride Leader. The practical assessments took place over the next week during normal BUG rides. Those who completed the course were Gary Catt, Barry Cruwys, Mel Gillott, Vic Reed, Les Cornish, and Paul Taylor.
Verification: April 2015 minutes and BUG MRL’s records.
BNSW Ride Leader Training took place at Werner Steyers home in July 2020, with Werner Steyer (MRL) as the facilitator. Those who completed the course were Richard Dwyer, Dave McCorkell, Jan Van Duin and Sharon Whittaker.
Verification: BUG MRL’s records.
BNSW Ride Leader training took place on 25th April 2021 at Les and Anne Cornish’s home, facilitated by two BNSW accredited Master Ride Leaders (MRLs) David Martin and Graham Edwards assisted by the new SBUG (MRL) Wayne Beckenham. Five current Ride Leaders assisted as actors, and it provided an opportunity for those five to refresh their skills. All riders completed the practical and were then required to complete ride planning modules and then arrange final co lead rides. Those who completed the course were John Wooster, Leslie Reddacliff and Wayne Beckenham (MRL).
Verification: May 2021 minutes and BUG MRL’s records.
BNSW Ride Leader training took place on 4th December 2022 at Wayne and Kathy Beckenham’s home, facilitated by Shoalhaven BUG MRL Wayne Beckenham, and assisted by MRL candidate Jim Florence. Five current Ride Leaders assisted as actors, and it provided an opportunity for those five to refresh their skills. All riders completed the practical and were then required to complete ride planning modules and then arrange final co lead rides. Those who completed the course were Karen Davis, Peter Cassar, Michelle Bills, Peter McLean and Ed Proudfoot. Jim Florence completed his Master Ride Leader assessment.
Verification: November and December 2022 minutes.
On 7th December 2022 Jim Florence receives his Master Ride Leader Certificate from BNSW to become the Shoalhaven BUG’s second Master Ride Leader.
Verification: December 2022 minutes.
Ride Leaders Meetings
It was moved at the September 2013 meeting to hold six monthly Ride Leaders meetings to plan the Sunday ride calendar six months ahead. The first such meeting was held at Judi Puru’s house on 18 September 2013.
Verification: September 2013 minutes.
In July 2021 Dave McCorkell took on the role of Welfare officer, mainly to check on welfare of BUG members who had been injured on our rides, although this role quickly evolved to check on the welfare of members and their families suffering from other illnesses and hardships.
Verification: July 2021 minutes
Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group 25th Anniversary Celebrations
On Wednesday the 28th September 2022 the Shoalhaven Bicycle User Group (BUG) celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the formation of the BUG with a dinner at the Worrigee Sports Club function room.
The Master of Ceremonies was Anne Cornish who introduced the BUG President, Peter Cassar, and Guests of Honour.
The President then gave a speech and introduced the guests to the Committee and Ride Leaders.
Guests of honour at the function were the Mayor Amanda Findley, Councilor Evan Christen, and Bicycle NSW CEO Peter McLean. The mayor gave a speech on the benefits to the community of cycling, and clubs such as ours, and Peter McLean gave a speech on Bicycle New South Wales (the BUG’s parent organisation) and what they’re trying to achieve, and the relationship between BUGs and BNSW.
Foundation member Jim Florence gave a talk on the history of the BUG over twenty-five years. He explained the genesis of the BUG and how it has evolved, using research from the minutes and other records kept from the inception of the BUG
Also present at the function was another foundation member Chris Langmaid and his wife Roz.
During the evening a number of presentations were made including Certificates of Appreciation to Jim Florence and Chris Langmaid for the role they played in the formation of the original Shoalhaven BUG as foundation members of the BUG.
The highlight of the presentations was the much-deserved award of Life Membership to Wayne Beckenham for his contribution to the BUG above and beyond what would normally be expected, over twenty-five years.
Being the silver anniversary people were asked to wear something silver and the President awarded Monica Palczewski first prize for best dressed and Steve Perry second prize for best dressed.
A slide show of photographs of the BUG members over the past twenty-five years was organised by Wayne Beckenham and projected onto a screen attracting much interest from the members and bringing back many memories.
After the dinner and formalities were over the celebrations continued with music and dancing organised by the Vice President Mel Gillott.
Jim Florence 1 October 2022
LIFE MEMBERSHIP AND OFFICE BEARERS
Life membership as laid down in our constitution is an award given to “a member who has given long and meritorious service to the SBUG above and beyond normal expectations and or has made an outstanding contribution to the aims and objectives of the SBUG”. Five SBUG members have received this award:
* Tom McDonald 2013
Jim Florence 2014
Judi Puru 2016
Peter Hewlett 2019
Wayne Beckenham 2022
* Tom Mc Donald was awarded the title of patron at our 10th birthday celebrations in 2007 as recognition of his contribution to the BUG. The BUG was not incorporated at that time and had no formal constitution, and no Life Membership provisions. The BUG was incorporated with a constitution in 2011, and the constitution was amended in 2013 to define the role of the patron and introduce Life Memberships. Under the changes to the constitution the Patron was automatically awarded Life Membership.
Patron (Position initiated in 2007)
2007 to 2023 Tom McDonald
1997 to 2000 Donna Farmilo
2000 to 2001 (April) Chris Langmaid
2001 to 2008 (September) Cathy Bennett
2009 to 2010 Cindy Florence
2010 to 2014 Jim Florence
2014 to 2021 Mel Gillott
2021 to 2022 Sharon Whittaker
2022 to Present Peter Cassar
2010 to 2011 Rod Pierce
2011 to 2015 Bob Lavender
2015 to 2016 Tony McCourt
2016 to 2018 Amanda McFeeters
2019 to 2021 Kathy Beckenham
2021 to 2023 Mel Gillott
2023 to Present Michael Strachan
1997 to 2010 Jim Florence
2011 to 2012 Maggie Cooper (resigned July 2012)
2012 to 2014 Kathy Beckenham
2014 to 2015 Geoff Vercoe
2015 to 2017 Julie Bourke
2017 to Present John Wooster
1997 to 1999 Chris Langmaid
2000 to 2019 Judi Puru
2019 to Present Anne Cornish
2018 to 2019 Anne Cornish
2012 to 2018 Kathy Beckenham
2013 to Present Wayne Beckenham
1998 to 2005 Kathy and Wayne Beckenham
2005 to 2013 Jan Furyk
2013 to 2015 Wayne Beckenham
2015 to Present Jim Florence
1997 to 2000 Tony Farmilo
2000 to 2002 Terry Threlfall
2002 to 2004 Paul Coombes
*2004 to 2006 Judi Puru, Peter Hewlett, Alan Roberts
2006 to 2010 Judi Puru
2010 to 2010 Lesley Kiely (resigned 6/10/2010)
2011 to 2013 Maggie Cooper
2014 to 2022 Peter Hewlett
2022 to present. Verne Mutton
*Paul Coombes resigned the position in Oct 2004 and a temporary subcommittee was formed to fill the gap.
Deputy Rides Co-ordinator
2006 to 2007 Peter Hewlett
2007 to 2008 Arthur McKnight
2008 to Unknown Rod Pierce
2012 to Unknown Judi Puru
Social Secretary now called Social Co-Ordinator
2014 to 2015 Paul Taylor
2015 to 2021 Les Cornish
2021 to Present Dawn Chamberlain
2014 to 2015 Bob Lavender
2015 to Present Wayne Beckenham
Master Ride Leaders
2021 to Present Wayne Beckenham
2022 to Present Jim Florence
2021 to March 2023 David McCorkell
2023 to Present Estelle Burgess
2022 to Present Ed Proudfoot,
2022 to 2023 Michelle Bills
2022 to Present Julie Bourke
2023 to Present Richard Dwyer
Members remaining active since the Group’s foundation in 1997
Jim Florence, Tom McDonald, Cathy Bennett, Kathy Beckenham, Peter Hewlett and Peter Steel.
Revised: September 2023