LIFE OF BYRON: The Suffolk Park Social

July 3, 2018

The Suffolk Park Progress Association is what happens when a community mobilises and assumes guardianship of their town. Whether it is educating townsfolk on new recycling initiatives or looking out for a ‘crazy yellow ant invasion’, the association is about welcoming and belonging. While apathy strikes at the heart of many towns in the developed world and where ‘care’ is easily deferred to the municipality, the residents behind the Suffolk Park Progress Association take their home, and its future, seriously.

Guardianship guarantees that the Suffolk Park way of life, a community-centric way of life, will continue.

It is an approach to ‘community’ that has ancient roots. The Arakwal people are the indigenous custodians of the land in Suffolk Park and guardianship is a natural value of the Aboriginal people. The sacred site at Taylors Lake, also known as Ti Tree Lake, has been important to the indigenous people as a spiritual place especially reserved for Bundjalung women for thousands of years.

The preservation of the lake as a spiritual site under an Indigenous Land Use Agreement, as well as the proactive efforts of the Arakwal Elders, sets a powerful example of ‘care’ rather than ‘dominion’ over land and resources.

The Tallow Creek Estuary and surrounding marine conservation area hosts a fish and bird sanctuary to conserve native wildlife. Families are drawn to interact and experience the precinct with a bike path and walking track through the area. The pathway is an invitation to parents and children to experience the sanctuary, starting conversations about human footprints on the natural environment.  

This is how storytelling happens in modern life – passing meaning and awareness of the importance of the natural world from one generation to the next.

For news and a contemporary meeting place, you can’t go past the beautiful beach at Suffolk Park. Sirens, or perhaps just the waves, call locals to the East to walk among the sand and greet one another, sharing events of the day and socialising. The approved pet zone along the beach makes for the well socialised and exercised dogs of Suffolk Park.

Suffolk Park is a haven for families, balancing the natural wonder of a creek to ocean journey with the modern amenities needed for a modern lifestyle. Convenience stores, restaurants, cafe, bakery, chemist and gym is the 21st-century high-street that attracts a diverse group of modern residents and local business owners.

Diversity and inclusion are important community values and the eclectic mix of homes in the town are a physical testimony to the richness of Suffolk Park and its residents; it is a town that celebrates its history and preserves its future.  

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