The Daring to Dream, the Passion to Inspire and the Grace to Care

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sarah u'brien

Sarah brings passion, local knowledge and a wide experience to her work managing the Community Centre.

Sarah has a Bachelor of Teaching and a Diploma of Front Line Management. From teaching in Newcastle, Penrith and the Blue Mountains, Sarah discovered that working in community development was her real passion. For the last 16 years she has been developing support services and activities for rural and isolated communities across NSW. She returned home to Dungog 5 years ago to manage the DSCC.

Helping to build a strong, resilient and connected community is the focus of Sarah’s work. The Community Centre’s motto, Together A Stronger Community, deeply informs Sarah’s work. 'It’s important that we come together. Working as a group while focusing on individual needs creates strength that we can all use to grow.'


nina williams
centrelink, department of social services

Nina is the friendly face you most often meet when you come into the centre. For the last 12 years she has brought the human touch to Centrelink services. She is skilful at navigating what is often a complex and difficult system. She loves working with the community and assisting where possible.

Nina has a Diploma of Community Services Work and is just completing her Diploma of Counselling. She is also a Justice of the Peace (but only during office hours, 9am-1pm at the DSCC).

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KAren maloney
community renewal officer

After over 20 years working with and supporting communities, Karen brings a wealth of understanding, experience and compassion to her work with Project Bounce Forward (the Community Centre’s disaster recovery program).

The inspiration behind the name and approach to Project Bounce Forward is the work of Bounce-Forward guru Sam Cawthorn: Karen and the rest of the team use his optimistic approach as an effective tool for change and revitalisation.

Karen has extensive experience in delivering training, arranging community events and connecting families to information and services. She is skilled in Narrative Therapy and Strengths-Based approaches to counselling.

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ali martin
community support officer

Ali Martin is our Community Development Officer and Coordinator of the Train 4 School transition program. Ali’s main focus is early literacy, including Doug The Reading Bug. She also supports our community relationships, programs, events and initiatives. A Social Worker with qualifications in Christian Counselling and Family Therapy, Ali is passionate about seeing individuals, families and communities thrive.

A blow-in from Newcastle who has fallen in love with this Shire, Ali has four lively kids, a couple of cows and loves her man in uniform. She thrives on good food with great friends and can't resist a dance floor.

Ali is on a mission to help people stop and smell the roses and live life to the full.

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beau-dean blanch
community support officer, admin, it support

Beau looks after the admin needs of the welfare program and is involved in some of our big events and projects, including the Dungog Dash & Dawdle, Born to Read, Community Fun Days and Christmas Support programs. He helps with promotions, fund raising, social media, event organisation and preparation and is IT support for most departments. He trains volunteers in record keeping and welfare distribution.

Beau worked as a Tax Help volunteer for a couple of years before he gained employment with the Community Centre in 2007. Currently he is studying for his Diploma of Counselling and qualifications in Community Services Work, Case Management, Certificate III in Business Administration and Call Centre Training.

Beau recently moved into the district from Stroud with his young family.

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jane richens
coordinator, dungog community college

Hailing from Queensland, Jane has a background in teaching and visual arts, with a little chocolate making thrown in. She has eclectic interests: rainforests and science, felting and orange things, bush regeneration and typefaces. She loves learning about anything and is passionate about connecting others with the possibilities of lifelong learning.




john o'brien
coordinator, dungog community college

John moved to the area in 2000 with his family, to take advantage of the hills and valleys. He's had a wide range of jobs, including text editor at the Powerhouse Museum Sydney and the Natural History Museum London, travel guide rewriter in Estonia, award wining scriptwriter for short films and creator of TV series for the ABC and SBS.

Always a strong believer in the power of education to change lives and bring world peace, he and Jane Richens have run the Dungog Community College since it started. Their first course, Get Friendly With Frogs, ran in February 2012.

In his spare time John is in local band 'Fancy', playing the vibraphone and pianica, whatever they are.

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suzanne sandery




david crane
tax help and volunteer

David has been involved with the centre in many many ways for a couple of decades. Lately he’s been our main volunteer providing the Tax Help service, a great service for anyone on $50,000 or less who wants assistance with their tax.

David’s also been doing the office renovations throughout the centre. He’s such a key part of life here he’s been nicknamed 'Dad' (his wife Jenny Crane was the bookkeeper here for 20 years – she became 'Mum').

Good with his hands, he has a broad electrical background, loves woodwork and in his long involvement with local life ran Dungog’s appliance repair business and recently retired from Fire Rescue NSW after 35 years.

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KAryn Marsh
centrelink, dept of social services

As well as being a part time receptionist and Centrelink agent, Karyn has many times been a volunteer for the Community Centre.

She comes with years of experience in customer service.

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Kylie Ross
welfare support volunteer




Doug the reading bug

Doug pops up all over the district. He particularly loves hosting pyjama parties at local libraries. Children bring their teddy bears, their parents and grandparents to the library for a hot chocolate, stories and craft with Doug.

Doug the Reading Bug is the mascot of the Born to Read project which encourages all parents to read to children from birth.

The power of reading to children should never be underestimated. Brain research has shown that a person’s learning pathways are established in the brain by the age of three. Reading and sharing stories with young children is vital in helping children develop lifelong skills for learning.

Doug's message is simple. 10 minutes a day - talk, sing, play, share a book today.


mascot, dungog dash n dawdle

Daisy is our mascot for the Dungog Dash N Dawdle. She’s not much into running but a celeb who likes her photo taken.

 The Dungog Dash N Dawdle is the great cross country fun run starting and ending at the Showground, thebulk of the run is through the stunning Dungog Common.

This event helps raise much needed funds for the Dungog Shire Community Centre. Every year it gets bigger. 

Click here to go to the Dash N Dawdle facebook page.

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david langford
volunteer counsellor, mates group, project bounce forward

As well as providing counselling, especially counselling for men, David has recently been pushing 'chocolates and a chat' throughout town as part of Project Bounce Forward's Chocolate Connections program.

David has an Advanced Diploma of Counselling and Family Therapy. He was involved with counselling men in the Tamworth area and volunteered at the Tamworth Correctional Centre for 6 years.


Lisa Dyer
Youth Services Facilitator

Lisa has been a youth and family worker for 20 years, supporting young people, their families and carers. Working with juvenile male offenders in Melbourne, youth training program, 'hand brake turn' in Sydney , School Chaplaincy and running youth community programs in Mayfield and Lake Macquarie .

Lisa has Diploma in Counselling and Family Therapy and is a qualified Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy Practitioner with the Equine Psychotherapy Institute.

Born and bred in Newcastle, Lisa settled in Dungog shire, in 2014 after an adventure travelling Australia with her family. Lisa has a passion to see young people reaching their dreams and all the better if its from the back of a horse.


Grants Officer

Kate writes compelling applications for funds to help us run our valuable programs, Kate has a way with words and the ability to interpret complex eligibility criteria.

An experienced business person with a genuine interest in Community Service, Kate has qualifications in Business, Community Services, WHS, TAE and a range of other valuable skills.

Having moved to Dungog in 1995 with her husband, Jim, and two children, Kate loves this area and the local community and is now enjoying watching her beautiful granddaughter grow up in this amazing place.

* A huge thank you to Kelly of Kelly Leigh Photography for producing such fantastic photos *

Board of management

Jerome McClintock

Jim Norris

Jim Norris

Allen Shrimpton

Bernadette Skuse

Carol Skafte-Zauss

Matthew Coxhill

Belinda Blanch

Steven Richard


Vice Chair



Committee Members