Rotary Club of Northbridge – Award Recipients

Five local residents received Rotary Awards for their work in either business or within the community.

Two recipients received the “Pride of Workmanship” award and three, a Community Service Award

The Pride of Workmanship Program is designed to acknowledge any member of our community, irrespective of age or vocation, who displays outstanding qualities in terms of approach, dedication, attitude and commitment to service.

The recipients are:

Julian Todd

Julian was formerly with the big wine company Southcorp. He established his own company Backvintage Wines in May 2003. It was a brand new concept for Australia – a company that took advantage of the over-supply of quality wine in Australia and the growth of Internet-based selling. Back vintage is, in fact, a “virtual winery”. Julian buys premium wines direct from selected vineyards, blends it and bottles it under his own Backvintage label. He employs a Master of Wine to select and endorse each wine.

These “bespoke” wines are advertised on the comprehensive Backvintage website and customer orders are filled quickly and delivered free of charge. Julian believes in giving value for money.

Back vintage and its tiny staff operate from the original office and store room in the area behind the shops in Sailors Bay Road. From nothing, Backvintage now has many clients mainly in the lower North Shore. In 2012, the company was rated a 5 Star winery by James Halliday, who rated two of its wines 94 points. Backvintage has even supplied Qantas Business Class with wine.

In addition to its commercial success, Julian generously supports local schools, charities and sailing clubs. He also played a role in the local Northbridge Scouts organisation for several years.

Please congratulate Julian Todd for his Pride of Workmanship award.

Allyson Peters

Allyson Peters has owned the Sailors Bay Hairdressing Salon in Northbridge for thirty years, firstly in the shop now occupied by the convenience store next to Northbridge Public School, and for the past twelve years on the corner of Sailors Bay Rd and Woonona Rd, Northbridge.

Allyson is a very competent hairdresser who can do anything with hair, for men, women and children, giving cuts, colours and specialist treatments for all types of occasions. She is becoming one of the rarer types of hairdresser who can turn their hand to anything in the hairdressing field and do it well and with pride. She has a special affinity with children and will take extra time to make them feel at ease, especially for that first important haircut.

Allyson takes care with the presentation of her salon which always looks light, bright, clean and filled with flowers. However, the biggest impact in walking into the Sailors Bay Hairdressing Salon is from Allyson herself. She greets everyone with warmth, no matter their age or gender. Everyone is made to feel welcome, and many people pop their heads around the door just to say hello.
I have visited Allyson’s salon for the past twenty four years and in this time I have come to realise that people certainly appreciate her for her professional pride in her hairdressing ability, but also as a genuinely compassionate and caring individual.

It is over the years that I realised that Allyson was quietly giving much of her own time to look after many of her elderly clients in a very caring way. She would take them to their chemotherapy appointments, do their grocery shopping and pick up their dry cleaning. Allyson would visit them in the hospital when they were sick, or in a nursing home, and often do their hair while she was there. She would be the first to make them a pot of soup if they were moving house, or if they were ill. She had been present for those who had no family with them when they died.

Allyson has never looked for reward in doing any of these things that are above and beyond the call for her hairdressing skills. She would be the first to tell you that she does what anyone in the community would do and that over the years she has enjoyed the interaction with her wide range of clientele. She has justly gained the respect and love of the community and is most deserving of the Pride of Workmanship Award as she is truly an unsung hero.

Rob Coote

Rob has been an active member of the Northbridge community for a number of years whilst running his own business and raising a family.

He was the Area Coordinator for Northbridge Neighbourhood Watch, from June 1999 until 2002 and during this period consolidated two Neighbourhood Watch areas into one Northbridge area; he oversaw the creation and publication of a new newsletter “The Crimebuster”. This provided communication of issues to all householders within the local community and encouraged a greater sense of vigilance and reporting of suspicious circumstances to the police.

Also in 1999, Rob was elected Secretary of the Northbridge Progress Association but unfortunately work pressures saw him need to hand-on this position and that of Neighbourhood Watch in 2002.

In 2011, Rob again volunteered and was elected onto the Northbridge Progress Association Committee, becoming President 2013.

Rob has been instrumental in the Northbridge Progress Association better connecting with the younger demographic of Northbridge. He initiated the use of social media as a means of the NPA posting information and obtaining comment from the community. He championed the redesign and development of the NPA website to be in a layout that could be read by portable devices, as well as traditional computers.

Rob has actively encouraged new residents of Northbridge to be involved as members in the NPA and to volunteer for the Committee. This has provided the Committee with a broader span of ages that now is representative of the current Northbridge demographic.

As President, he has needed to research and draft submissions on community matters and has been careful to consult with as many areas of the Northbridge community as possible before finalising the submissions.

Rob is quietly spoken and diplomatic in his dealings and seeks to consult with as many residents as possible.

Linden Gulson

Linden is a chartered accountant and worked as an audit partner with KPMG before he retired 2007. Since then, as a volunteer he has used his expertise and experience to help numerous community organisations. Since 1990, at various times, he has acted as accountant, Finance Committee member or Treasurer for St Marks Kindergarten, 1st Northbridge Scouts and Northbridge Public School Tennis Committee. He is currently Treasurer of Northbridge Progress Association.

Over a six-year period until 2013, he was a member of the Finance Committee of Northbridge Golf Club whilst serving as Vice-President and then President of the Club.

Linden has been Chair of the Audit Committee of The Shore Foundation for 12 years and a Director since 2009. He was a mainstay of the Northbridge Branch of the Liberal Party, being a member of the Committee for 12 years and President for four years until 2013.

In all these volunteer roles, Linden has brought professional and managerial capacity to community organisations – large and tiny – that needed him. He has helped them to grow and prosper and kept them financially sound. He is a worthy recipient of a Community Service award.

Bruce Wilson

May I start with a small quotation …
“I will take a soft scrubbing brush down and clean the lanes two and three by hand. The trick is to ease off the soft weeds without removing the remaining antifoul paint”.

This was an email to an Editor of The 202, plus others, re a maintenance matter at Northbridge Baths. This is an example of how Bruce addresses pressing Community issues, i.e. he gets on with the job!

Bruce was a long term resident of Northbridge. He now lives at Castlecrag, is married to Karen and has two children – Valda, a renowned singer, and Scott, an architect. Bruce is NOT retired and as well as his community works, he manages various family interests. Bruce graduated from his years of education, which began at Northbridge Primary School, with a Law degree and a Masters of Business Administration. He has always been interested in community affairs. He was an active member of the Castlecrag Progress Association, serving two years as President. He was the President of the Castlecrag P&C where he, unsuccessfully, attempted to prevent the closing of the Castlecrag Infants School. As a result of his campaign, he was told by the Government that, the closure of other schools was prevented.

He initiated the first Freedom of Information Application with the NSW Government (Wilson V Education Department of NSW) and he was successful.

Bruce joined the Northbridge Swimming Club in 1955, where he swam on a regular basis for many years. He is no longer active due to other commitments He appointed himself “unofficial Maintenance Director” of the Baths and there have been many sightings of him pushing a mower when the grass became too long, pulling garbage bins up and down the steep hill and scrubbing many needy surfaces, both in and out of the water. Following a suggestion of Cr John Hooper, Bruce formed the group, Friends of Northbridge Baths. Their objective is to ensure the Baths will be preserved for future Northbridge and Castlecrag residents and future generations. He has the strong support of all Ward Councillors and the Mayor, Cr Gail Giles-Gidney.

In support of the Baths, Bruce was the author of a recent report to Willoughby Council detailing essential repairs needed for the on-going maintenance program. There were over 30 areas needing attention and in this list, Bruce added many suggestions as to how problems could be solved, offering to help where possible. He has followed this report with the early morning on site meetings and general feedback to Council.

Bruce is willing to commit his energy and enthusiasm to protect those things that are important to our community and will benefit us for many years ahead.

We wish to congratulate all of the above recipients for the time and commitment that they individually provide to make our community what it is today.

Thank you.

This section is intended for constructive and respectful discussion of Northbridge community issues. All comments are moderated before appearing on the site.