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Mat Brown has discovered passion in his trial with Currajong

FOR most of his adult working life Mat Brown has worked as a baker. Whether he was cooking up pies or flummaries, Mat thoroughly enjoyed and still loves baking.

So when he injured his back, Mat, as part of his rehab, has been doing a work trial with Currajong Disability Services in Parkes and to say he loves it is an understatement!

“It’s a fantastic job and a great organisation,” Mat said.

“It’s my first foray into the industry so I am taking in all I can,” he said.

“Hopefully it eventuates into something.”

While Mat and Currajong are under no obligation beyond the initial three month trial to take the placement any further, Mat is optimistic as he continues to manage his injury and rehab whilst learning about a new industry he admits he is really starting to love more and more.

“The people, the culture – everyone has been so welcoming and I can’t thank Jodie and the team enough!”

Welcome aboard Mat!

Bev with Jay Crouch - one of the many participants she has positively impacted since working at Currajong

WHEN Beverley Gabriel-White started in late 2011 at Currajong Disability Services she had no connection to the Parkes shire at all. It was a big move from Goulburn for Bev and now nearly nine years later, she leaves with a treasure trove of friendships and highlights that will last a lifetime.

“Currajong provided me with a better opportunity at the time as one-on-one disability care was and still is my main passion,” Bev said.

“Currajong allowed me to do that and it was an exciting challenge for me,” she said.

“While there are many things that I will remember and that make me smile, I am very pleased how much Jay Crouch has progressed during my time having been one of his main one on one support workers,” said Bev.

Karen Willis is another and the list goes on and on and on.

“There’s too many to name – Bev has left an indelible imprint on so many and not just our participants but staff and families as well,” said Neil Hamilton, another support worker and colleague from Currajong.

Yet it is arguably her work with Ian Kaupke that is most impressive especially if you ask colleagues or the Kaupke family.

“Bev has many qualities but her best is supporting people with complex needs. Her ability to support and empower participants 1:1 in their homes and in the community to achieve their goals is uplifting,” said Service Delivery Manager Jodie Turner of Currajong.

“Her work with Ian Kaupke particularly has been exceptional but everything she does is,” Jodie said.

“Bev has supported Ian Kaupke for the past two years to achieve his key goal of gaining employment. Ian’s love for animals has gained him work at The Pound in Peak Hill” she said.

Ian’s grandfather Wolfgang echoed Jodie and Neil’s sentiments.

“His life has changed because of her and he is getting there. She has done wonders for him and there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for him and us,” said Wolfgang Kaupke.

“Apart from helping him get work she also has been helping him get his license, going above and beyond for him and our family. Often she will do things she doesn’t have to do because she cares and she is passionate about what she does and it shows,” he said.

“Beverley has a great outlook and knows what she is doing and understands how to get the best from Ian. I know I speak for many when I say she will be greatly missed.”

While Bev’s last shift for Currajong isn’t until August 10 she knows the end date is nearing but leaves with so many positive memories.

“I feel personally I have really helped (or tried my best anyway) though everyone has played a big part in Currajong’s success and it makes me feel great,” said Bev.

“I am going to miss friendships and staff and the participants – I see them down the street often and I just know I will miss that. When I came here I didn’t know anyone and now everyone is like family to me,” she said.

“I will be back to visit and keep in touch for sure so while I may no longer live and work here I will definitely be seeing you all soon!”

August 10 is Bev’s last shift and then she is off to the Hunter Valley to start her new role.

“Thanks to everyone who has made this adventure and role so enjoyable – so glad I can walk away from here knowing I can come back and I have friends and family for life.”

All the best Bev and thank you for all you have done and providing light for so many! We will miss you!

Shannon Miller with some of his more recent homemade jewelry creations


SHANNON Miller has always been creative and for those who know him, his real specialty has been jewelry making.

“He’s always been creative and talented for as long as I have known him,” said Deitre Jackson of Currajong Disability Services who often cares for Shannon when he is at Currajong HQ.

“He’s one of those people who can create anything from anything but in my humble opinion it’s his jewelry along with indigenous artwork that are among the most incredible things he does,” she said.

“He just has an eye for it!”

The latest creations come on the back of a government imposed lockdown which allowed many, including Shannon, to tap into his creativity.

“I like doing it and it is a lot of fun,” Shannon said.

“I am happy it makes others happy,” he said.

“Hopefully I can do it more often and maybe one day all the time,” Shannon said.

While Shannon and Deitre figure out behind the scenes how to make Shannon’s venture viable, Shannon meanwhile will keep designing his bracelets.

“Seeing people smile is what it’s all about,” he said.

“If I can bring some joy to people that’s great,” Shannon explained.

When asked what he liked most about jewelry making Shannon was very open.

“Being creative and the detail that goes into doing it I really like,” he said.

“It requires time and patience which we all had during lockdown,” Shannon said.

“The dream is to one day run a store with my creations so I hope I can make it happen!”

We hope so too Shan! Great work!

Jarrad Simpson, Blake Huntly and Jesse Kite with Tammy Nash

TAMMY Nash has never been one to seek the limelight. A quiet achiever, Tammy has been a reliable and positive employee of Currajong for a few years now and is popular among staff and participants.

So when she saw a recent story on the Today Show about a call out to help Henley Carey she felt compelled.

Henley has severe Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I).

“I saw Henley struggling with MPS so I knew I had to get involved,” she said.

“So I organised a painting for Henley’s room created by our participants.”

“A big thanks to all who contributed – you’re all stars!”

Henley Carey, one, from Coolaman, in south east NSW, was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that causes his body to swell, putting pressure on his organs.

But despite the disease, which affects one in 88,000 children, being incurable a bone marrow transplant will add years to his life.

His brother, Darcy, 3, will undergo surgery to give his younger brother bone marrow.

“I just knew I had to get involved,” said Tammy.

“It really left an impression and I am so glad everyone has run with it!”

Children who suffer from severe Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) rarely live past 10 years old.


  • Henley Carey, 1, was diagnosed with Mucopolysaccharidosis type I in March 
  • The rare genetic condition causes swelling in his body which impairs his organs
  • Darcy Carey, 3, will undergo surgery to give his younger brother bone marrow
  • While the disorder is incurable, the transplant will extend, and better, his life
  • A gofundme page has been created to help the family, from Coolaman, NSW 

THE Carers NSW 2020 National Carer Survey is now open until 30 June 2020. Make a difference for carers across the country and have your say today!

Developed by Carers NSW in collaboration with researchers from five universities and the National Network of Carer Associations, the Carers NSW 2020 National Carer Survey, is now online.

Every two years Carers NSW conducts a survey to ask carers about their experiences and find out what supports they need. In 2020 for the first time this will be a national survey, providing the opportunity to increase our number of responses and find out more about what is on the minds of carers nationally.

The data gathered in this research will help to advocate for carers, influence policy makers, and plan for service delivery into the future.

We encourage carers to complete the online version where possible, but we understand that not everyone is able to do so. A paper copy and reply paid envelope has been included for all Carers NSW members with every copy of the April/May edition of Carers News, and carers can order paper copies through this online form.

The Carers NSW Carer Survey is one of the major ways in which Carers NSW and our partners and stakeholders improve our understanding of caring and carers’ lives. This knowledge helps us to advocate for the things that matter to carers and raise awareness about current issues in caring.

The Carer Survey also helps us to understand the needs of specific groups of carers, including carers from different cultural backgrounds. It also highlights the challenges of different caring roles, for example caring for someone with a mental health condition, or the experience of being an older carer.

For more information about the Carer Survey, please contact the Research Team at or on 02 9280 4744.

Australia's Biggest Bogan Festival organisers Brad Gibson and Luke Acheson with Dane Millerd of Currajong Disability Services

THE Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program is injecting $20 million into 122 regional agricultural show societies, including Bedgerabong PA & H Association Inc.

The upgrades at the Bedgerabong Showgrounds will include the development of a multipurpose livestock facility, fence repairs, installation of barriers and an upgrade to the watering system.

This is great news for organisers of Currajong fundraiser, Australia’s Biggest Bogan Festival after the 2020 version of the event as postponed due to COVID-19.

ABBF organisers Brad Gibson and Luke Acheson (pictured) were stoked with the announcement.

“We are very excited about this development and needed some good news after the hard year this has been for everyone,” said Luke Acheson.

“I know many are pleased we can move forward and raise some vital funds for Currajong and other charities,” he said.

Dane Millerd of Currajong Disability Services was equally pleased with the announcement.

“Events like this raise important funds for support programs, resources and many other things,” said Dane.

“We can’t state enough how grateful we are to the guys and the ABBF committee – you’re all amazing!”

Oscar Browne and Jason Godden having a jam

NATIONAL Volunteer Week (NVW) is the annual celebration to acknowledge the generous contribution of our nation’s volunteers. This year, National Volunteer Week 2020 was held from Monday 18 May – Sunday 24 May 2020 with the theme “Changing Communities. Changing Lives”.

While celebrations were subdued acrosss the nation, National Volunteer Week 2020 has given us all a chance to take stock and appreciate all the efforts of our army of volunteers and Currajong is no different.

“Simply put, volunteers are part of the backbone of our organisation,” said Dane Millerd of Currajong Disability Services.

“Whether it be a student studying prac, a support worker donating more time or a family member who wants to help – we are extremely grateful for all of our volunteers,” said Dane.

“While we may not have been able to pay tribute the way we would have liked this year like in previous years, it certainly doesn’t dilute the importance of the contribution of our volunteers or days like today,” he said.

“Volunteering is great for self-confidence and the community and really can help empower and inspire.”

And Currajong is always happy to look at more volunteers.

“We are always happy to look at more volunteers. The health sector lags a distant fifth in the most volunteered for organisations in Australia behind nearly every major group so hopefully we can improve that,” said Dane.

“Contact us via the web, social media or come in and see us!”

Shane Spicer with Doug Pout cooking up in the Westview kitchen

SHANE Spicer and brothers Jason and Chris have been a regular feature at Currajong for years.

For Shane (pictured), keeping busy and learning new things and lately, refining and enhancing new skills, has been at the fore- front of Shane’s personal development.

Westview Residential Team Leader Donna Little has admired his progress while also ensuring the right mechanisms are in place for Shane to live his best life.

“One of Shane’s favourite things is getting outdoors especially on these fine Autumn days,” said Donna.

“When he doesn’t get out and about he keeps to himself at home,” she said.

“He is always willing to help and such a gentle person,” Donna said.

“He keeps to himself a bit and likes to maintain his routine and bedroom.

“Along with the options our program provides, Shane gets just about all he needs from quality support to a variety of activities and programs he can participate in,” Donna said.

Keep up the great work Shane!

Currajong Disability Services – life with opportunities.

Zack Gibson of Fire & Rescue NSW Parkes 417 with Currajong's Jackson Collier and the cupcakes he made for staff

JACKSON Collier hasn’t been at Currajong long but he’s already leaving a great impression on everyone.

From his silky licks on his Maton guitar to now Masterchef in the Currajong Kitchen – he is certainly taking opportunities to try his hand at a number of activities and skills. The latest culminating in cakes for our Fire & Rescue NSW Parkes 417.

“It is just another way to say thank you to our front line essential workers,” said Indigo Kriedemann of Currajong.

“Organisations like Fire & Rescue NSW Parkes 417 are a credit to themselves and the community,” she said.

“We just wanted to let them know how grateful we are here at Currajong.”

Fire & Rescue NSW Parkes 417 Zack Gibson (top left) was rapt with the gesture and paid tribute to Currajong and Jackson for the gesture.

“We are very thankful and like Currajong we appreciate all they do as front line essential service,” Zack said.

“Jackson is a an outstanding young man and a great cook,” he said.

“I have no doubt everyone at the station will love the cakes too!”

The Currajong Kitchen has been in full swing over the past few weeks and been well received by the essential service sector from medical professionals to firefighters and police.

“It’s these small tokens of goodwill that will get us all through and it’s great the participants of Currajong are finding such ways to contribute positively to the community during such a difficult time,” Zack said.

“Thank you!”

Amanda Clifton shows off her ANZAC booklet

IT wasn’t like any other ANZAC Day but it didn’t matter to Currajong residents who stood outside with poppies, wreaths and candles as one, as part of the Driveway Dawn Service initiative to commemorate ANZAC Day 2020.

“For residents at Russell Street like Bonnita Brady and staff, it was a chance to pay their respects to our fallen heroes and the sacrifice they made,” said Currajong’s Dane Millerd.

“While previously they’d have marched, this year many of our residents and participants have found other creative ways to engage in the ANZAC Day experience,” he said.

“From making wreaths and poppies through to flags – everyone has been active and love to be a part of the experience.”

At Westview, residents Shane Spicer and Timbo Wheeler (pictured) made ANZAC biscuits while Amanda Clifton designed ANZAC Day booklets.

“I know everyone has had a great time finding expressive ways to acknowledge this special day,” said Dane.

“It’s been fantastic to see and I want to say a big thanks to our staff for their efforts too,” he said.

“And to all our servicemen and women – thank you and lest we forget.”