THE Bushland Tukka Café and Catering Service was officially opened by State MP Stephen Bromhead on Wednesday, August 27.
Despite massive downpours the night before which prevented many attending, about 120 local volunteers, community members and school children from the Bushland Estate and Taree region joined in the festivities.
The crowd were welcomed by stilt walkers Jill Watkins and Kath Palmer from Circartus who “walked the talk” and mingled with the crowd adding an element of fun, celebration and wow factor to the day.
Biripi elder Mr John Clark gave his blessing and conducted the official Welcome to Country on behalf of the traditional owners the Biripi People.
Caron Watkins, manager of Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services (which has facilitated this project) spoke to the crowd about the origins of the project, the many supporters and sponsors and the momentum that has built over the previous six months.
“We will continue to do everything within our power to ensure that this project becomes sustainable in every way,” Caron said.
Following this Mr Bromhead cut the official ribbon and the cafe was open for business.
The Koori Dance Troupe from Manning Gardens Public School performed an array of traditional dances, expressing themselves and their culture.
Then all present enjoyed an array of food prepared by volunteers, Jordan and Jasmin Darragh, Lance Hickey, Lisa Vidler, Gene Learmonth and Kelly Robb led by Beate Brooks Tracy of the Bushland Tukka Cafe. Their dedication and enthusiasm is the key ingredient to the success of the enterprise.
In coming months 12 volunteers will undertake hospitality training provided through North Coast TAFE Institute outreach program.
The new food trailer funded by the Enterprise Training Company was on show and over coming months will become a major part of the project providing opportunities for volunteers to get out into the community and gain more experience in food preparation and catering.
Local teen singers and guitarists Josey Ponsonby and Sophie Bryant from Taree High added to the day with their beautiful harmonies and well known local musician Jim Bird entertained the gathering with his laid back acoustics.