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It may not be an Aussie Biscuit but Dave Ryan knows how to make them and he's got a lot more time now to eat them

WHEN a then 39 year old Dave Ryan started at the Aussie Biscuits factory with House With No Steps, Dances With Wolves was the Best Picture winner at the Oscars, the Canberra Raiders had shaded Penrith in the 1990 grand final 18-14, Liverpool would begin a three decade top flight drought, Guns N Roses and Red Hot Chili Peppers were top of the music charts, Steffi Graf was the Queen of women’s tennis and the Berlin Wall had only just been knocked down.

Today, 30 years later, 69 year old Dave Ryan hangs up the apron, mittens, toque blanche and tongs for the last time at the Aussie Biscuit Factory. With Dave’s departure goes a big piece of history too not just in Forbes and House With No Steps but in disability in the region. Yet instead of focusing on endings Dave Ryan is excited to be moving onto the next chapter of his life.

“I enjoyed it but it’s time to call it a day,” Dave said.

“It was a big part of my life but it’s done now.

“Time to do other things,” he said.

For Currajong Residential Team Leader Donna Little it’s a day filled with pride for how far Dave has come and all he has achieved.

“Dave has always liked having a go and made friends everywhere he went from House With No Steps/ Aruma to Currajong and everywhere in between,” Donna said.

“I know they will all sorely miss him at the biscuit factory.

“He was a big part of the history there,” Donna said.

While Dave has remained a little coy about his future plans he will still remain a participant at Currajong and now have more time to enjoy a range of activities.

“I will be able to do many things now I never had as much time for before such as puzzles and the odd Monte Carlo,” Dave said.

“I’m sure there’ll be other things too.

“I just want to thank everyone – it’s been great!”

The winning 2019 Live Better team from Orange will be back to defend their title in 2020

IN only three short weeks the annual Currajong Disability Services All Abilities Swimming Carnival will be held at the Parkes Aquatic Centre.

Participants from as far afield as Orange, Temora, Trangie, Dubbo, Cowra, Forbes, Bathurst and Parkes will converge for the flagship event.

The 2019 event had 120 entrants and already interest is showing that this year will be bigger and better.

With an emphasis on fun, camaraderie and building new relationships as well as a chance to exchange ideas, the Currajong Disability Services All Abilities Swimming Carnival has become one the big features on the disability calendar.

“We are rapt with the growing interest in the event and the burgeoning relationships being formed between providers across the region,” said Dane Millerd of Currajong.

“It is such a tremendous day on a number of fronts.

“It’s great for participants and vital for providers,” said Dane.

Organiser Indigo Kriedemann said that the day was a real highlight on the regional disability calendar and many were already looking forward to it.

“It’s a great event that brings together people far and wide within the disability community,” Indigo said.

“The day keeps growing and going from strength to strength.

“This year is already looking like a bumper carnival!”

Over the previous editions of the event, Currajong has often dominated however last year, Live Better from Orange got the chocolates despite sterling efforts in the pool by Ian Kaupkee and Tim McDonald. Yet, as Indigo points out, it’s not about who wins but “having a go” and “everyone coming together to connect and meet new friends and old ones”.

“It really is a special day because we all don’t get together that often,” Indigo said.

“It’s also a real social outing.

“I know many of us get a buzz out of it!”

The Currajong Disability Services Annual All Abilities Swimming Carnival will be held at Parkes Aquatic Centre on March 4.

To register, email

Alternately you can call 02 6883 4713 to confirm your organisation’s place in this blue chip event.

GO BRA: DeBRA Hewitt and IndiGO Kriedemann warming up for the World's Greatest Shave with Fiona McGonigal

MARK Thursday March 12 down in your calendars because it’s World’s Greatest Shave time again!

This time last year Fiona McGonigal was battling kidney cancer, Fiona, typically, decided to raise awareness for cancer research by shaving her head to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.

This year Fiona again will be participating in the World’s Greatest Shave and sadly, despite beating kidney cancer last year, she has received the unfortunate news that the disease has returned on the left side of her adrenal gland.

The adrenal glands (also known as suprarenal glands) are endocrine glands that produce a variety of hormones including adrenaline and the steroids aldosterone and cortisol.

“They are found above the kidneys,” said Fiona.

“I am hoping everything is okay next week when I see the specialist and I can concentrate on getting well and raising vital funds for cancer research.

“After such a great response last year, especially from everyone at Currajong, I felt compelled to give it another go,” she said.

While Fiona has her up and down days, nothing she says, will stop her trying to beat last years fundraising effort of $1000 which was her initial target.

“The funds are vital make no secret of it but so too is awareness of cancer and different cancer types,” Fiona said.

“Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer. That’s one Aussie every 41 minutes.

“Although research is improving survival, sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.”

According to the World’s Greatest Shave website – By signing up and raising money for World’s Greatest Shave, you’ll be part of an elite group of extraordinary superheroes on a mission to shave the world from blood cancer.

You’ll join fellow shavers across the country working hard to raise $16.5 million to support and empower families impacted by blood cancer and to accelerate blood cancer research to reach the Leukaemia Foundation’s bold new goal: zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035.

If you want to support Fiona watch this space for more info, links and how to donate over the coming weeks otherwise contact Currajong Disability Services about how to get involved on 02 6863 4713

Mal Smith, Sebastian Sadgrove and John Sarkissian at The Dish

CURRAJONG Disability Services client Sebastian Sadgrove will have his recently donated his masterpiece “Blue Dish” to the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope framed and immortalised with a plaque at the Observatory in a special event on April 3. Currently, it is displayed inside the visitors centre and has received wonderful feedback.

“When I started this I couldn’t have believed this was possible,” said Sebastian.

“The support shown to me and autism in Parkes and Central West by the community and CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope has been phenomenal.

“They have been great contributors and backers of Autism Month every April so I thought I would sound them out regarding this painting being displayed there.”

For John Sarkissian, Operations Scientist CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope, he couldn’t be more pleased by the initiative shown by Sebastian and Currajong.

“CDS (Currajong) and Angela Wilson from the Central West Autism & Special Needs Awareness Group contact CSIRO to light the dish blue in April each year for World Autism Month which we are more than happy to support,” said John.

“We try to do our bit for the local community.

“Especially when it comes to the support of important local charities like Currajong”.

Mal Smith, Site Leader at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope concurred saying their organisation loved getting behind local groups.

“We love supporting local groups. We do our best for the local community,” he said.

“This is a unique painting and we love it!

“Thank you CDS and we will proudly and gladly display it in the visitors info centre here”.

With the 2020 installment of World Autism Month fast approaching in only 8 weeks (April), no one will be more proud than Sebastian to see his painting showcased to world at the CSIRO Parkes Radio Telescope.

“It is a dream come true and hopefully I inspire others with autism and disabilities to achieve their goals too!”

Jujubes in bloom at Akuna Road, Parkes

AFTER months of effort and toil, the Currajong jujubes at Akuna Road are almost ready with picking expected to begin in March.

For Currajong’s Wayde Kriedemann, who manages the farm with jujubes and carobs, the picking will begin in roughly six weeks and wrap in April pending the quantity of jujubes.

“We distribute as we pick them,” said Wayde.

“Our biggest customer last year were the Sydney markets and naturally there is interest again.

“The jujubes really proved to be a hit,’ he said.

Last year the jujubes sold extremely well and there was high demand. Wayde anticipates this year will be the same.

“It’s the second time we’ve been through this process now,” he said.

“We have learnt a lot from 2019 and that will hold us in good stead for this season.

“And once it’s done we will repeat the cycle again for 2021,” he said.

Ziziphus jujuba commonly called jujube, red date, Chinese date, is a species of Ziziphus in the buckthorn family (Rhamnaceae).

According to Wikipedia, the jujube was domesticated in south Asia by 9000 BC. Over 400 cultivars have been selected.

The tree tolerates a wide range of temperatures and rainfall, though it requires hot summers and sufficient water for acceptable fruiting. Unlike most of the other species in the genus, it tolerates fairly cold winters, surviving temperatures down to about −15 °C (5 °F) and the tree is for instance commonly cultivated in Beijing. This enables the jujube to grow in mountain or desert habitats, provided there is access to underground water throughout the summer. The jujube, Z. jujuba grows in cooler regions of Asia. Five or more other species of Ziziphus are widely distributed in milder climates to hot deserts of Asia and Africa.

In Madagascar, jujube trees grow extensively in the western half of the island, from the north all the way to the south. It is widely eaten by free-ranging zebus, and its seeds grow easily in zebu feces. It is an invasive species there, threatening mostly protected areas.

The freshly harvested, as well as the candied dried fruit, are often eaten as a snack, or with coffee. Most countries around the world have a use for jujubes from smoked jujubes in Vietnam to alcoholic jujubes in China. They are incredibly popular in Asian countries and serve many uses.

In Australia, on the surface it appears the humble jujube is more of a new novelty, something Wayde thinks is slowly changing.

“They are becoming more and more popular as people discover the range of uses for them,” he said.

“I have no doubt their popularity will continue to grow.

“Jujubes are a versatile and healthy snack and people are starting to realise that.”

Kittie Dwyer receiving her award for Parkes Australian Citizen of the Year 2020

THERE were priceless smiles and expressions, there were some tears and there were heartfelt words about how tough the last 12 months have been, both near and far.

But above all there were messages of hope, pride, determination and togetherness. These are the feelings that came out of Cooke Park and across the Parkes Shire on Sunday during the 2020 Australia Day awards ceremonies and community celebrations.

The annual awards celebrate and acknowledge outstanding community, sporting and cultural contributions and achievements made at a local level by Parkes Shire residents.

Parkes’ 2020 Citizen of the Year Kittie Dwyer was surprised and took to the podium after hugs and congratulations from her fellow nominees to say that everyone who contributes to the community should be praised and thanked.

A product from Trundle originally, Kittie has been a lifelong resident of the Parkes Shire and is well known for her dedication, passion and determination for the community.

She started the Currajong Carers Support Group and remained its chair and facilitator for many years. As former chair of the group and a board member of Currajong Disability Services, Kittie’s positive attitude was instrumental to providing the best care and options for the community.

She’s been described in her nomination as “a very generous, thoughtful community-minded lady who still remains very motivated and willing to share her extensive knowledge and empathy to ensure residents of Parkes and surrounding community townships have access to support and care”.

Story and selected pix courtesy of PCP

CDS Support staff Trilbie Bermingham and Deb Hewitt with Fiona McGonigal (seated)

LAST year, Fiona McGonigal shaved her head to raise vital funds for the Leukaemia Foundation via the World’s Greatest Shave in front of a full house at Currajong Disability Services in Parkes.

“I’m on a mission again this year to shave the world from blood cancer,” said Fiona.

“If I can get more people to sponsor me it will assist families facing blood cancer and give them the emotional and practical support they need.

“You’ll also fund vital research to help more people survive blood cancers, while improving their quality of life,” Fiona said.

Shaved by Trilbie Bermingham (above left with Debbie Hewitt) last time, Fiona lost all her locks amid a round of applause from clients and staff.

“Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer. That’s one Aussie every 41 minutes,” Fiona said.

“Although research is improving survival, sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.

“I am still happy to take sponsors!”

To get involved and support Fiona on her mission to shave the world of blood cancer watch this space for more info!

Tim McDonald woodworking hard

Employer guide: Campaigns and awareness days for inclusion of people with disability at work

Campaigns and awareness days related to the inclusion of people with disability are used by many organisations to inspire understanding and engagement in the workplace.

By linking back to your organisation’s wider goals and values, awareness days can help you promote a culture of inclusion and demonstrate your commitment to a workplace that is accessible, safe and supports everyone to reach their full potential.

This guide is designed to help you plan for and contribute to key global and national campaigns for inclusion of people with disability in 2020.

The Valuable 500

24 January 2019 to 2020

The Valuable 500 is a campaign that aims to get 500 businesses globally to commit to putting disability on their board agendas by 2020. It was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019 in Davos, Switzerland, by #valuable founder Caroline Casey, with a mission to ignite a historic global movement for a new age of business inclusion.

Created to mark the launch of The Valuable 500, the ‘DIVERSISH’ campaign reveals that while many businesses call themselves diverse, most overlook, ignore or postpone the inclusion of people with disability. The campaign calls for business leaders to stop being ‘diversish’ and commit to real accountability and action on inclusion of people with disability.

AND is a Business Resource Network within the #valuable tribe. We commend our members who’ve joined The Valuable 500, and strongly encourage other organisations to follow their leadership.

Key hashtags: #valuable #Valuable500 #diversish #InclusionRevolution

Related links:

World Hearing Day

3 March 2020

On World Hearing Day 2020, the World Health Organization will highlight that timely and effective interventions can result in people with hearing loss being able to achieve their full potential.

Poor hearing is a significant problem in Australia and disproportionately impacts our aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

International Women’s Day

8 March 2020

International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women, and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. It’s a day to recognise the contributions, rights and aspirations of all women, including women with disability.

The IWD 2020 campaign theme is #EachforEqual, which celebrates the power of every individual to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

The United Nations celebrates International Women’s Day to accelerate gender equality and empower all women to create a better world for everyone. Each year, UN Women Australia hosts some of the largest International Women’s Day events around the country.

Key hashtags: #IWD2020 #EachforEqual #WomensDay

Related links:

World Autism Awareness Day

2 April 2020

World Autism Awareness Day was declared by the United Nations to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism and ensure their full and meaningful participation in society.

Key hashtags: #WorldAutismDay #WorldAutismAwarenessDay #WAAD #autism #ASD #neurodiversity

Related links:

World Day for Safety and Health at Work

28 April 2020

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual campaign by the International Labour Organization (ILO) to promote safe, healthy and decent work. The 2020 World Day will focus on violence and harassment in the world of work.

Australian organisations need to do more to combat harassment and discrimination of workers with disability. Research by Diversity Council Australia showed that workers with disability were twice as likely as workers without disability to have experienced discrimination and/or harassment, and to have felt excluded.

Key hashtags: #FutureOfWork #ILO100 #WorldWHSDay2020

Global Accessibility Awareness Day

21 May 2020

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) aims to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about online access and inclusion. It builds understanding of how people with disability interact with websites, apps and other digital environments, and the steps we need to take to achieve fair access to information.

The global standard for web content accessibility is the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1. It was developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)’s Web Accessibility Initiative, in pursuit of a web that is accessible to all.

Key hashtags: #gaad #accessibility #a11y

Related links:

R U OK?Day

10 September 2020

R U OK?Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that any day is the day to ask the simple but important question: Are you okay? It aims to encourage everyone to meaningfully connect with those around them and support anyone going through a tough time.

R U OK? at Work is a suite of resources and practical guidance to help people navigate a conversation with someone they’re worried about in the workplace.

Key hashtags: #RUOK #RUOKDay #RUOKEveryday

Related links:

International Day of Sign Languages

23 September 2020

International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness of the role of sign language as essential to meeting the human rights of people who are deaf. It also recognises the importance of preserving sign languages as part of linguistic and cultural diversity.

IDSL corresponds with International Week of the Deaf, which is celebrated each year on the last full week of September.

Sign languages are crucial means for individuals to express themselves, connect with others and participate in all aspects of economic, social, cultural and political spheres. Sign language is also critical to ensuring access to information and services, including during emergencies, and to meeting the human rights of the more than 70 million deaf people around the globe.

Key hashtags: #IDSL2020 #IWDeaf2020

Related links:

International Day for Universal Access to Information

28 September 2020

International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI) was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness of the right to seek and receive information as an integral part of the right to freedom of expression, and as key to sustainable development.

In our global information society, access to information is directly linked to the enjoyment of basic rights and freedoms. It has the power to transform lives. For one billion people with disability in the world, access to information and technology provides an opportunity to enhance their social, political and economic participation and reach their full potential.

Key hashtags: #IDUAI #AccessToInfoDay #RightToKnow

Related links:

National Safe Work Month

October 2020

National Safe Work Month, an initiative of Safe Work Australia, is a time to commit to building safe and healthy workplaces for all Australians. Workplaces that keep people healthy, satisfied and free from physical and psychological harm help to motivate employees, reduce errors and improve productivity.

Inclusive employers take every employee’s needs into consideration when planning and implementing Work Health and Safety (WHS), including employees with disability.

Last year’s theme was ‘Be a Safety Champion’.

Key hashtags: #SafetyChampion #SafeWorkMonth #WHS

Related links:

World Sight Day

8 October 2020

World Sight Day focuses global attention on blindness and low vision, including the full participation of people who are blind or have low vision in the community. Held on the second Thursday of October each year, it’s coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) under the global initiative VISION 2020: The Right to Sight.

Key hashtags: #WorldSightDay #WorldSightDayAU #Vision2020

World Mental Health Day

10 October 2019

World Mental Health Day is an initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health to raise public awareness of mental health issues worldwide. It is a time to consider how we, as employers, leaders and colleagues, can support mental health, wellbeing and inclusion in our workplaces.

Last year’s theme was ‘Mental health promotion and suicide prevention’.

Many Australian states and territories recognise October as Mental Health Month or celebrate Mental Health Week during October, to coincide with World Mental Health Day.

Key hashtags: #WorldMentalHealthDay #MentalHealth #MentalHealthPromise #MentallyHealthyWorkplaces

Related links:

International White Cane Day

15 October 2020

International White Cane Day, also known as White Cane Safety Day or White Cane Awareness Day, raises awareness of the importance of the white cane and how it aids the mobility and independence of people with blindness or low vision.

Key hashtags: #WhiteCaneSafetyDay #InternationalWhiteCaneDay #iwcd


21 November 2019 to 2020

#InvalidOpinions is a global campaign led by the ILO Global Business & Disability Network (GBDN) that aims to combat the stereotypes and stigma experienced by people with disability in the labour market.

Every day, people make generalisations and assumptions about people with disability. Most of these assumptions are wrong. The campaign highlights individuals who are defying these ‘invalid opinions’ everyday – and asks the viewer to confront their own beliefs and misconceptions that might be inadvertently contributing to individuals being held back in the world of work.

A campaign kit, videos and other promotional assets are available on the ILO GBDN website.

Key hashtags: #InvalidOpinions

International Day of People with Disability

3 December 2020

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is a United Nations-sanctioned day celebrated internationally on 3 December. It increases awareness of the benefits of inclusion of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

IDPwD is the most important day of the year to celebrate the contribution that people with disability make in our community. It’s the ideal day for Australian organisations to launch an Action Plan, a new commitment or a new policy. It’s a day to celebrate ‘nothing about us without us’, which is the global mantra for self-determination and empowerment for people with disability.

Last year’s theme, as declared by the UN, was ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’.

Key hashtags: #IDPWD (Australian) #IDPD (international)

Related links:

Human Rights Day

10 December 2020

Human Rights Day is the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The Declaration sets out universal values and a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. It establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person, including people with disability.

Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to leave no one behind.

Last year’s Human Rights Day theme was ‘Youth Standing Up for Human Rights’.

Key hashtags: #StandUp4HumanRights #GlobalGoals

Related links:

About AND

Australian Network on Disability (AND) is a business disability network established to make it easier for large organisations to be actively and confidently inclusive of people with disability in all aspects of business.

Find out more about what we do.

Sebastian Sadgrove with a selection of his paintings

PEAK Hill resident and Currajong Disability Services participant Sebastian Sadgrove continues to find his voice as a painter and artist.

After the success of his maiden artwork “The Blue Dish” which was donated to the CSIRO Parkes Telescope Observatory by Seb to draw attention to autism, Seb has come up with more artworks during the holiday period.

“I have an interesting mix here from a koala painting through to a cattle station,” Seb said.

“I am really enjoying it at the moment.

“I am now working on some new ones that I hope can also be displayed like “The Blue Dish” is at the Parkes Observatory,” said Seb.

With Australia Day looming there has been some discussion about whether Seb should exhibit his works there however the search for a suitable location remains ongoing.

“What happens is okay with me provided they can be seen,” Seb said.

“Art is made to be seen.

“I hope the masses enjoy it as much I enjoyed painting them,” he said.

No doubt they will Seb.


Dane Millerd (right) of Currajong Disability Services receiving Joe Ozzimo's donation from the Parkes Visitor Centre


IT was only 2018 when Joe and Leisa Ozzimo came to PARKES for the first time. A “huge Elvis fan” and a singer, Joe had always been keen to check out the festival.

Now two years on, Joe has raised money again for Currajong by donating his $300 worth of takings to the not-for-profit.

“We decided to come back again this year and get right into the spirit of the event with me busking and entering the senior tribute contest,” said Joe.

“My wife again went all out with her costumes. On arrival we saw that other buskers were getting tips and selling CDs and we thought that we could do something charitable for Currajong again.

“We asked Ken McGrath if we could make a donation of any money earned and he let us know about the local Currajong Disability Services and that made perfect sense to us,” said Joe.

Having worked in the medical device industry and having some knowledge of the NDIS, Joe and Leisa have been exposed to the plight of many people less fortunate than them and wanted to help where and where they could.

“With my singing particularly, I have supported charities such as White Ribbon, the CFA in Victoria and soon to support a beyond Blue event,” said Joe.

“It allows me to do what I am passionate about and hopefully provide some support to those less fortunate any small way we can.

“We are just glad we could help Currajong and we hope the $300 goes to good use.”

In 2019, Joe raised $112.65 so it’s a big jump up considering the smaller crowds.

From everyone at Currajong, well done Joe and Leisa and thank you!