The King’s representative, Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC KC, Governor of New South Wales, and her husband, Dennis Wilson, visited the Community Northern Beaches support service charity on Raglan St, Manly yesterday, 20 July.
They met with the charity’s CEO, Craig Stevens, and the Board Chairwoman, Kandy Tagg, as well as management and staff.
MPs Rory Amon (Pittwater) and Zali Steggall (Warringah) also attended, along with representatives from Manly MP James Griffin’s office.
Community Northern Beaches (CNB), partnered with a range of governmental and non-governmental organisations, is a hub of support for a number of community welfare programs for our area. Their services include providing assessment, legal advice and social aid for Domestic Violence Support, Youth Mentoring, Homeless Outreach, Multicultural Services and a Drop-In Centre.
After the initial introductions at CNB, the Governor’s husband, Dennis Wilson, broke the ice on the formalities by joking with Manly MP James Griffin’s staff. Mr Griffin was unable to attend, but Mr Wilson told his aides, “You all look really happy! Is that because, now you’re no longer in government, you don’t have to work?”
This was greeted with peals of laughter. Turning to Mr Griffin’s fellow NSW Liberal Party member, Rory Amon, he acknowledged there might be a counter-opinion. Mr Amon continued the joke by pretending to hold a mobile phone and with a typing motion replied, “I’m just sending James a text message now!”
Her Excellency – this is the official title to which Ms Beazley, as the formal Head of State of NSW is addressed, according to protocol – then spent over an hour on the premises, listening to volunteers and staff who outlined CNB’s support services and outreach work, from help for the homeless to facilitating services for newly-arrived refugees from war-torn Ukraine.
Spear of Destiny
Her Excellency received a warm welcome in Manly and showed a keen interest in the CNB services.
She fared significantly better with the locals than the first Governor of NSW, Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet, who was speared through the shoulder.
On 7 September 1790, whilst boating back from South Head, Phillip was summoned to join a barbecue on a beached whale at Manly Cove by famed interlocuter and Wangal leader Woollarawarre Bennelong.
Shortly after landing, Phillip was approached by Willemering, Aboriginal elder and respected caradhy (wise man and medicine healer), who suddenly picked up a barbed spear that had been set aside, and hurled it through his collarbone.
The attack was quite probably undertaken as retributive punishment for Phillip’s previous abduction of Bennelong and Colebee in November 1789, when the two Indigenous men were forcibly removed from Manly Cove by British Marines because Phillip required Aboriginal translators.
Phillip was rowed back to Sydney Cove and made a full recovery due to the embedded spear avoiding vital organs and his carotid artery. Bennelong was forgiven and the two leaders forged a strong friendship that eventually saw Bennelong accompanying Phillip on his sea voyage back to England in December 1792. There he attended state functions, visited museums and key tourist venues, and may have met King George III, not returning to Sydney until September 1795.
Who is Margaret Beazley, Governor of NSW?
Margaret Beazley AC KC, the current Governor of NSW, the 39th in succession, is the vice-regal representative of King Charles III in the state of New South Wales and performs important constitutional and ceremonial functions.
Appointed by the monarch (on advice of the NSW Premier), she has been in office since 2 May 2019 and will serve five years in the role.
Local support for CNB
The previous NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, also visited Community Northern Beaches earlier this year when, on 6 March, he promised the charity $150,000 to enable them to continue their vital operations, as Manly Observer reported at the time.
However, the following month, April 2023, CNB was among several Northern Beaches charities warning that vulnerable people across the Northern Beaches would suffer if Northern Beaches Council moved ahead with proposed funding cuts to their services.
As Manly Observer reported, CNB, Northern Beaches Women’s Shelter, and Burdekin Association (Avalon Hub), the three main charities supported directly by Council funding, all faced a significant reduction from a $250,000 budget over the next three years.
Councillors voted to replace it with the existing community grants program, spread between an additional 27+ organisations, which basically compete by bidding for a share of a reduced funding pool of $50,000.
However, as Manly Observer subsequently reported, in a reversal of decision, Council voted to retain the principle funding support for these three main charities for another three years, until 2026.
Community Northern Beaches: 52 Raglan St Manly https://www.cnb.org.au/