A Northern Illawarra Heritage exhibition has opened at Otford’s Govinda Valley, showcasing the remarkable history of Otford, Stanwell Park and Helensburgh.
The Govinda Valley, National Trust Heritage Festival event runs through until May 20, giving you the opportunity to learn about the colourful past of the Northern Illawarra.
Events Manager, Wendy Saunders says 20 acres of land was purchased from the Uniting Church, early last century, and has always been run by volunteers.
For over 50 years the property was used as a camp ground retreat for schools and the ‘Christian Crusaders’,” she says. During WW2, 95 Aboriginal children from a Mission on Crocker Island, North of Darwin, lived for four years in the site. They went to local schools, including Otford Primary School.
Nora Pike, who lives in Helensburgh, was one the teachers. Her son Jim, will present historic photos including photos of his mother and her students.
Twelve years ago, the land was bought by Govinda Valley Retreat Centre and is now used as a retreat for all manner of groups looking to embrace the serenity, and incredible bushland setting.
The National Trust, “My People My Story” exhibition focuses on the development of the area, and culminates in an Open Day/Luncheon on May 15 between 11:00-2:00 pm, reuniting people who share a history at Govinda Valley.
“We have many of the region’s original settlers descendants coming along,” she says. “We’ll also have local artists, musicians and dancers who can help us represent the culture of the property and the wider stories of the history of the Northern Illawarra.”
Any local performers who would like to perform at the event are encouraged to contact Wendy via www.govindavalley.com.au or 0412 614 684