SAPRA then and now

South Arm Peninsula Residents Association Inc

Our story

In March 1989 a community meeting unanimously agreed on two things - forming a residents’ association and building a community centre.

SAPRA is now 34 years old and the South Arm Community Centre is 26 years  old. The longevity of this entirely volunteer-run organisation is testament to the strength of our Peninsula community.

 

 

Read the Inaugural Meeting Minutes from 1989 and see if you recognise any familiar names!

 

The story begins

1990s - and the fundraising begins... $100,000 raised for Community Centre via golf days, Xmas dinners, sports nights, memorable Australia Day events, Iron Pot Rock and more.

1997 -South Arm Community Centre opens on 25 May. Imagine the hard work, commitment and vision needed for this massive $500k project and at the same time, still lobbying about roads, services and other community concerns. Despite the huge amount of community funds and the various federal and state government grants, SAPRA had to obtain a community loan of $65,000 from Clarence City Council to finish the construction.

2006-2012 - Centre leased for childcare. In a win-win for the community, this allowed the Centre to provide a needed local service. It also brought SAPRA an income for loan repayments and to re-invest community projects, not to mention a much-needed rest from fund-raising.

2012 - Celebrations as Community Loan waived. High praise from Clarence Council when advising that the $39k loan balance had been waived:

The Council’s decision is due recognition of SAPRA’s continued valued contribution to the residents of the South Arm community. Your Association’s hands-on approach to local projects has demonstrated a high level of community self-sufficiency which is unparalleled elsewhere in the City of Clarence and much appreciated by Council.

The Community Centre today is now a vibrant hub.  It's home to the Maurice Potter History Room, Community Library, Iron Plot Community Garden, Pot of Luck Op Shop, South Arm Community Market and host to other groups like the South Arm Songsters and a base for our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Today - building on a legacy

We continue to build on the immense legacy of past committees - the many volunteers who quietly made their own contribution to our community, our surrounds, well-being and safety.

The Community Centre today is now a vibrant hub.  It's home to the Maurice Potter History Room, Community Library, Iron Plot Community Garden, Pot of Luck Op Shop, South Arm Community Market and SAPRA as well as host to other groups like the South Arm Songsters and a base for our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

Whilst the Centre is a big part of our work, we also continue the advocacy work begun in 1989 by following up on community issues, auspicing grants for smaller groups, providing advice and mentoring for other groups or just lending  support when needed. And of course, community issues like roads, services etc will always be part of what SAPRA does, three plus decades on!

SAPRA's role really is an interesting, sometimes challenging and usually rewarding mix of advocacy, support, connecting, facilitating and fixing.

In recent years SAPRA was a pivotal part in the early development of the South Arm Peninsula Men's Shed project and a strong contributor to the Save St Barnabas campaign, which ultimately brought our history church into community hands.

Our committee and many other volunteers are a great mix of people, each contributing what they can to make our community a better place. We all have different lives, skills, personalities and connections – binding us is a deep love is of this place and the people that make it so special.

Achievements and projects

SAPRA’s community commitment, its profile, support and connections are what allow us to lobby with credibility and support groups and individuals with a vision to drive their projects. It’s teamwork that creates great outcomes for our community. Here are some of the projects/ issues that SAPRA has either initiated, supported, lobbied, managed, funded and/or some way played a part in their success.

  • Bike path - Opossum Bay to The Neck
  • The Labyrinth - Potters Hill
  • Blessington Street footpath
  • BBQ on the Oval
  • Community Bus Partnership (2011-2018)
  • Community Market,
  • Library, Op Shop + Community Garden
  • South Arm Convict Trail
  • First Responders (CERT)
  • Flowering Gum Avenue - Opossum Bay to The Neck
  • Fund-raised $100,000 + built the Community Centre ($500K project)
  • Iron Pot Rock, Fun on the Oval, Golf Days  + other events
  • Set up Carols by Candlelight
  • Maurice Potter History Room
  • Opossum Bay Jetty upgrade
  • Provided public seats
  • South Arm and Opossum Bay rafts
  • South Arm boat ramp and jetty
  • South Arm Highway major roadworks including Musk Road re-engineer
  • South Arm Art & Craft Exhibition (6 annual events)
  • Publish South Arm News to 1800+ residences across the Peninsula
  • South Arm Peninsula Men’s Shed
  • Community purchase of St Barnabas Church & Cemetery
  • PLUS lobbying on roads, bus services and many other community issues for three decades!
  • AND we bought a Community Bus in 2022 to serve our Peninsula!
Richard Vaughan - Flowering Gum Avenue
Bryce Harvey placing time capsule at opening of Centre May 1997
Official Opening of South Arm Convict Trail