What matters most to our community

Above (l to r) Members of the Guyra and Communities Progress Association, Sonya Wallbridge, Wendy Warner, Kay Smith (mural artist), John and Barbara Ross at McKie Park, maintained by the Guyra Garden Club.
15th Nov 2022

A mural conceived and delivered by the people of Guyra and community meetings with Armidale Regional Council earlier this year were the catalyst for a group of passionate Guyra locals to form the Guyra and Community Progress Association (GCPA).
The community meetings with Council were a chance for community members to share their ideas with Council on how they could build a better relationship and improve advocacy on what matters to the people of Guyra.
Mayor Sam Coupland said the meetings organised by Council created opportunities to listen to the Guyra community’s ideas, challenges, concerns and vision for a better Guyra.
“It was a chance to put the past behind us and work together. Also sharing our vision for the region and some of the top priorities we’ve identified for the next ten years with the main goal being growth of our whole region,” said Mayor Coupland.
Donna Davidson is a founding member of the GCPA and said the association gives the community a collective voice to provide representation, advice and insight to Council on what matters most to residents and finds ways to achieve results for the whole community.
“It did all start from the pride felt in having a mural created by two well-loved locals, aboriginal elder Brian Irving and artist Kay Smith,” said Donna
“It was Guyra! And the mural was very personal as it reflects our community. It got us all thinking that we need to do something for our town. It was just so heartwarming during the Covid time to see residents from the Kolora Aged care facility driven to the mural and feel so much pride in our community.”
Donna has lived in Guyra for 32 years with her husband and three children. She has always been interested in anything that involves the community, including working as a teacher for many years.
“We love Guyra. It has the distinct four seasons, the spectacular Mother of Duck’s Lagoon and there are great facilities for residents with the beautiful showground, hospital, three doctors and a great aged care facility,” said Donna
“Guyra is central to everywhere and just down the road to Armidale. There’s something that is just special about our town and we’re very proud to call this home.
Since then we’ve formed our Association and it is all about doing something positive and we’re working with Council to work on upgrading the highway billboards…they will reflect Guyra’s heritage by beautifying the town with the new signage.”
Donna explained that they have ‘gatherings’ rather than meetings, to keep it more casual and enjoyable. They also hold community barbecues at the lagoon for members to just turn up and have a chat and a snag together. “We also rallied ten members for a recent clean-up in the carpark and the Council boys, all Guyra lads, collected the rubbish,” said Donna
The GCPA are not short of initiative and have a can-do attitude. An ‘ideas box’ is up and running to get the ideas flowing and are already looking at how they can install fairy lights in the main street to create some atmosphere when driving through the town, as has been done successfully in Glen Innes.
However, the major initiative for the Association is a current grant application through the Stronger Communities funding for beautifying projects. The ideas for the possible grant funds include some additional stone gateways to the town and more murals to attract campers through a walkway. This grant application was supported by letters from Armidale Regional Council, the CWA and Aboriginal Lands Department in Guyra.
The group is currently erecting a Tourist Information Board at the Mother of Ducks Lagoon to provide tourist maps and businesses can promote their services, such as cafes and shopping.
“We’ve all been through a lot over these past years…what with the drought, bushfires and mouse plague,” said Donna. “It now feels the right time to get back to knowing your neighbour, supporting each other and feeling positive about what we’re doing in the community.
If you are a member of the Guyra Community and you would like to get involved with the association please email: progress@gmail.net or visit the association’s Facebook page.