Hackett Community Association Chair’s report 2017-18

While the financial report covers the 2017-18 financial year, this Chair’s report covers the period June 2017 to end of October 2018.


Passing of James Walker: The HCA was saddened when James Walker suddenly passed away in October 2017. James had been with the HCA from its inception in 2003 and served as Chair from 2013 to August 2016. James was instrumental in organising the 50th birthday party celebrations in 2013, and played a key role in developing the concept of a book about the history of the suburb. The HCA hosted a small function at Siam Twist to remember James.

Adoption of new constitution: When an application was submitted to the associations licensing area of the ACT Government, to register the HCA in 2003, a box was ticked indicating that the HCA would adopt the ‘model rules’ and that the constitution was lodged. ‘Model rules’ are prescribed under the Associations Incorporation Regulation 1991. In September 2017, Chris Mobbs requested that the ACT Government provide all copies of documents associated with the application lodged in 2003. The Business and Industry Licensing area advised that they did not have any copies of the HCA actual constitution.

A subsequent review of the constitution on the HCA website and the model rules showed that overall they were similar however, there were a number of areas for which there were significant differences – financial year, objectives, membership, minimum age, level of fees, committee structure, AGM quorums and auditing. The operation of the HCA beared little resemblance to the requirements of the constitution and in some respects has unnecessarily made the work more difficult e.g. the requirement to have 20 members at an AGM, and reporting being done on a normal financial year basis instead of the calendar year stated in the constitution. At a special meeting held in March 2018, a new constitution based on the model rules was adopted.

Membership fees: In October 2017 the Committee discussed the value of requiring a fee for membership. At that time there were three fees – household $7.50, individual $5.00 and concession $2.00, and that these were required to be renewed annually. The view was that the amount of money raised did not justify the administration involved.  It was agreed to set the membership fee to $0 for 2017-18 and then to review in 2018-19.

Book about the history of Hackett: the intention was to have a book about the history of Hackett released in time for the 50th birthday celebration in 2013. However this was not achieved. With the passing of James Walker, Chris received a variety of historical material that James had collected over the years. This formed the basis on which to expand the content.  Chris sourced additional material from sources such as ACT Archives and ACT Heritage Library, National Archives of Australia, National Library of Australia (NLA). The NLA Trove records of old Canberra Times provided a rich source of stories about the suburb.

The final book entitled ‘Hackett – 50 years plus: story of a North Canberra suburb’ was printed (250 copies) in October 2018, with the generous support of Hackett shops and businesses, as well as funding by the HCA.  Andrew Leigh, Federal Member for Fenner and Hackett resident, launched the book at the Party at the Shops on 27 October 2018. Around 70 free copies were provided to contributors, libraries, Dickson College and Blue Gum school, while the others are being sold for $20/copy.

Party at the Shops 2017: was held on 21 October 2017 and with the favourable weather was well attended. Musical entertainment was provided by North Ainslie Primary, Campbell High and John Agnew Big Band, while Merici College and Folk Dance Canberra performed dancing. Gecko Gang jumping castle and face painting were enjoyed by the younger children. Food provided by Hackett Preschool (cakes and lemonade), Siam Twist and sausage sizzle by the HCA filled hungry tummies.  The raffle was highly successful with a large number of prizes donated by shops, and residents and a striking painting by Peter Engel a Hackett resident.

Party at the Shops 2018: was held on 27 October 2018 with the same bands and dancers as in 2017. Individual singers, including Poetry in Motion, CJ Shaw Tunes in Bloom and Keith Reece, provided added variety. Gecko Gang jumping castle and face painting were again very popular. The same food providers as in 2017 attended, in addition to The Magic Kitchen. The highlight for this party was the launch of the Hackett book by Andrew Leigh. Overall the attendance was well up on the 2017 party. Like 2017, the raffle was well supported with generous donations by businesses and Peter Engel.

Membership: The current membership is around 220 households.  For Hackett with a total population 2,991 and 1,144 dwellings, this represents 19% of dwellings.  Ideally we would like more residents to join the association.

Contact Day: The committee tried a new approach to Contact Days, based on the approach used by the Watson Community Association to have an informal contact session one afternoon during the week.  We ran this on Friday 27 April 2018 at 4pm at Wilbur’s and offered free tea and coffee. We signed up three new members. It became clear in talking to people that there is a misperception that members need to attend Committee meetings. Unfortunately April was cool, so similar event will be tried in the warmer months.

Communications: in addition to the contact days and party at shops, the HCA uses a variety of avenues to communicate with residents, including two websites – one for the HCA http://www.hackett.org.au/ and  http://hackettcommunity.com.au/ for the broader Hackett community and businesses. A number of people have commented that the two websites can be confusing at times – it may be more manageable having only one site? We also have a Hackett Facebook Page with over 200 followers.

Hackett Neighbourhood Watch: thank you for the on-going support for including news about the HCA in its monthly newsletter. It is important that NGOs work together to improve their local community.

Sponsor offers: a real estate company has offered to provide funds from sales of houses/units in Hackett to support community-based projects in the suburb. The committee has proposed projects such as doing up the metal notice board at the shops, provision of tables in the open spaces in the suburb and development of a sign/feature about Sir John Hackett at the shops.

Clean Up Australia Day: held on 4 March 2018 and organised by Terry De Luca who set up a registration table at the shops.  However, while Chris and Bruce Smith picked up rubbish along Antill St, and FOMM did the Mt Majura reserve, only one person turned up at the shops.

Community Fire Unit: the Association has worked closely with ACT Fire and Rescue to establish a Community Fire Unit in Hackett. Ten people are required to volunteer before a trailer will be allocated. As at the end of October eight people has signed up.


Bike parking at shops: noting that bike stands at the shops are often full, a letter was sent to Minister Stephen- Smith suggesting additional rakes be placed nearer Wilbur’s. The Minister replied and said departmental staff would discuss with Wilburs and Siam Twist in mid 2018. However, this discussion has not occurred to date.

Painting on wall at shops: the painting on the wall near Wilbur’s is looking old and needs rejuvenation.

Library at the shops: There was a discussion about the idea of a community library at the shops.  A small book case has been set up next to Siam Twist, independent of the HCA.

Gardens and other matters at the shops: it was noted that the notice board either needs renovation or be removed.  The three large garden pots, with no plants, take up valuable space and cover the chess board area. Having a hopscotch pattern would create interest for children.

Enhancing open spaces: – there are 6 open spaces in Hackett which provide important recreational value for residents (these include spaces on Bragg/Brennan St; Madigan to Mackenzie; Harris /Gilbert/French; Maitland/Gilruth; and Calwell/Stanley St). In the 2017 ACT election, the Labour and Greens proposed an Adopt a Park Scheme.  Under the HCA, residents prepared a draft plan for the Bragg/Brennan St park and submitted to the ACT Government. The plan proposes the involvement of local residents to enhance the tree and shrub cover and developing a nature playground for children. Discussions with the ACT Government continue, though the Adopt a Park scheme appears to be on hold.

Names for the open spaces: The Government has agreed to consider having names for these open spaces, with the Bragg/Brennan St park the first one.  Naming provides a sense of identity and can help emergency services more readily locate an area. There are guidelines to be followed i.e. can be in accordance with the naming theme for Hackett (notable deceased Australian scientists); or the name of a deceased person/family who made a significant contribution to the local community; or a word or characteristic associated with the history of the local area.  The HCA will facilitate proposals for naming these spaces.

Toilets: in 2015 the ACT Government provided draft plans for the construction of toilets at the shops to be located in the paved area between IGA and Madigan St. Unfortunately, this would detract from this valuable space. It could possibly go on the grass near the bus stop but this would also impinge on valuable space used for party at the shops.

Monash Drive: the ACT Chief Minister wrote to the National Capital Authority (NCA) in 2009 to seek removal of Monash Drive from the ACT plan. The NCA sought further information at that time, but nothing appears to have happened since.  Chris sent a letter to the Chief Minister about this matter. The reply in August 2018 advised that the ACT Government will be providing information to the NCP in late 2018.


Many of the issues commenced over the past year and earlier, will continue to be a priority for the HCA over the reminder of this financial year:

  • Sponsorship of community projects: the Committee will continue to develop proposals that could be sponsored by businesses or even crowd funding. However, any such proposals much be endorsed by the ACT Government if it involves public spaces. One of the priorities will be the development of sign/garden featuring Sir John Hackett which has been a long standing proposal for the HCA.
  • Commemoration of Sir John Hackett: a plaque, low maintenance rocks and shrubs, or some other feature at the shops would provide important context about the suburb of Hackett. The HCA will discuss further with the ACT Government.
  • Improvements at the shops: in addition to the commemorative feature, the HCA will seek the ACT Government’s agreement to do minor works at the shops including:
    • removal of the 3 large pots
    • cleaning up the metal noticeboard (the HCA may do this)
    • enhancing the gardens
    • installation of additional bike racks
  • Contact days and party at shops: we will aim to have one contact day (in the warmer months) and a party at the shops each year. To ensure continuity of planning, we will aim to hold party on the last Saturday of October. Planning for the party will begin in May.
  • Open spaces: get final government endorsement for plan to improve Bragg/Brennan st park. Facilitate community involvement for the other open spaces throughout the suburb.
  • Monash Drive: monitor proposals by the ACT Government requesting the National Capital Authority (NCA) to remove Monash Drive from the National Capital Plan. The NCA would seek public comment on its removal before making a final decision. The HCA will work with Friends of Mount Majura to support its removal.
  • Membership. We currently have around 220 individuals/families on the HCA register. In some respects, Hackett would appear to be immune from large scale developments that occur in other suburbs. That does not mean nothing could happen in the future. It is important that the community participates in NGOs like the HCA, as this collective input can be more influential in providing comments and liaising with the Government about activities that could impact on the suburb. We will try and increase our membership with emphasis on no requirement to attend committee meetings.
  • Websites: review the two websites with the aim of ensuring they provide current information including the option of having only one website.
  • Community Fire Unit: continue encouraging Hackett residents to volunteer to join.
  • AGM in 2019 – the 2018 AGM was delayed due to finalisation of the history book and preparation for the party at the shops. The new constitution requires that the AGM is held within 5 months of the end of the previous financial year. The Committee will consider holding the AGM in August or September in future years.

Finally. Thank you to the members of the committee for coming to the meetings, taking minutes, keeping tabs on our finances, maintaining websites and Facebook pages, and in particular for helping at events such as the party at the shops, contact days and other events.

Chris Mobbs Chair

Hackett Community Association 14 November 2018

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