Fund My Neighbourhood: Strathalbyn's motorcycling legend, a community fitness trail and frisbee golf course

SPEEDSTER: A Strathalbyn group is looking to honour the late motorcycling champion Kenny Blake with a monument and a celebratory festival next year. Photo: Supplied.

SPEEDSTER: A Strathalbyn group is looking to honour the late motorcycling champion Kenny Blake with a monument and a celebratory festival next year. Photo: Supplied.

Cities and towns all over the country have their home-grown heroes, but not many of these heroes are commemorated with a monument or a weekend of celebration. 

One Strathalbyn group is hoping to honour motorcycling hero Kenny Blake with both of these through this year’s Fund My Neighbourhood (FMN) program.  

The Kenny Blake Festival of Motorcycling is currently planned to take place over the weekend of October 26-28, 2018, where the celebration would kick-off on the Friday evening with a dinner at the Strathalbyn Football Club venue. 

Over the weekend, there would be a trade show, a memorial timed trial on public roads, displays of motorcycles from Kenny’s racing period and the unveiling of a 1:1 scale monument created from refurbished motorcycle parts.

Mary-Lou Nees thought of the idea for the monument and festival after being approached by Alexandrina Council Mayor Keith Parkes during Strathalbyn rejuvenation consultations. 

“Strathalbyn has a really strong motorcycling culture and I thought that we were really missing out on an big opportunity to celebrate one of our very own home-grown heroes,” she said.

Ms Nees said funding for the monument had been secured, help was just needed getting the festival running.

“We believe this festival will enhance our neighbourhood because it celebrates the unique history of our hometown hero who achieved success around the globe in motorcycling racing,” she said.

“It is different to anything else that takes place in our region which will attract a brand new audience.”

The monument will be constructed by Goolwa Hindmarsh Island councillor James Stewart, and Ms Rees said it will present a radically different medium to the street-scape of the town. 

“Being made of metal and motorcycle parts, it will be very eye-catching,” she said. 

Kenny’s history

Kenny was born in 1945 and lived in Strathalbyn throughout his entire childhood.

Bike-mad from an early ages, Kenny moved into Adelaide to pursue a career in racing after apprenticing as a panel beater at Gilbert Motors at the aged of 18. 

Kenny went on to win the Australian Time Trials at Surfers Paradise, before relocating to Melbourne in 1970. From there, his racing took him all over the country.

His 1973 win in the Castrol six-hour production bike race at Amaroo Park in NSW, where he completed 342 laps of solo riding, was described as one of the all-time greatest riding performances.

Kenny made his European debut in 1978 where he regularly competed through until his final race in 1981. 

While competing at the 500cc Time Trials at the Isle of Man, Kenny’s bike aquaplaned on a wet patch on the track. He slid and collided with a concrete post, killing him instantly.

More good ideas

Free to play Disc Golf Course (Frisbee Golf Course)

Disc golf (aka Frisbee Golf) is a fun and accessible sport for all ages. It is similar to regular golf except uses special frisbees rather than a ball and club and the hole (or target) is a basket with chains.

Disc golf does not require clearing of land or vegetation because the elevation changes and trees become the obstacles that the discs have to fly around. Courses also require virtually no additional maintenance and can be installed in multi-use park areas.

This makes courses environmentally friendly and offers a new and exciting outdoor activity for the whole family.

Expand the Senior Citizens building to co-locate Strath Neighbourhood Centre

The Senior Citizen's building is 40 years old and seriously needs upgrading and expanding to accommodate the Neighbourhood Centre, local clubs and service providers.

This is an excellent example of spending government funds wisely for the benefit of the whole community. It's in a great location with plenty of parking and easily accessible for wheelchairs, gophers and prams.

When completed this will be a welcoming, family-friendly venue with the capacity to substantially increase the use of the building and open it up to the wider community for meetings, functions, events and activities.

The opportunities are endless, but it needs your vote.

Upgrade facilities in the Rotary Park area

The Rotary Park is an important starting point for linear park running along the edge of the Angus River. It has free BBQ's and is a beautiful part of the park, which lacks some key equipment for families to better utilise.

Namely some covered seating areas to support the use of the BBQ's and some children's play equipment to keep families entertained.

The Rotary park is also is used as the starting point for the local "Park Run" and international run event that bring lots of local runners and has hosted a mix of national and international visitors to area.

Solar panels for Strathalbyn's Community Theatre

Our community theatre, owned and run by Strathalbyn Players Inc., brings live theatre productions of all types to our community, provides twice weekly drama lessons for young people as well as weekly drama classes for clients of Community Living Australia.

As a non profit association run by volunteers the massive rise in overhead costs are becoming a real problem.

The heritage listed building has a huge north facing roof and would make an ideal solar collector.

Rail line crossing-lighting and pedestrian safety

At Murray Street, Strathalbyn, the rail line is unlit for nights PLUS on the SES Depot side, there is a culvert.

The site needs a street light installed PLUS for the culvert to be fenced to prevent pedestrian falls. Injuries have been sustained to pedestrian falling into culvert at night.

A planned new venue needs fitting out

This popular music program has successfully nurtured music, motor and social skills in preschool children through play and activity.

Parents have networked together to build mutually encouraging relationships with others but the current facilities at the Tyndale Christian school have been compromised by construction of theatre stage seating in the auditorium leased as a venue.

A new venue is planned in Chapel Street Strathalbyn to provide a permanent site for the mainly music program and a grant for $89 854 is sought provide carpet, air-conditioning, a sound/IT/media system and storage areas for toys and play equipment.

Relocate and upgrade the Pantry Club facilities

The Pantry Club (TPC) provides direct support to people who suffer financial hardship in our regional community through the provision of food supplies, emergency relief, and financial help in crisis situations.

Over the past five years clients have valued the friendships and support of volunteers, staff and others. Current facilities have constrained the delivery of complementary life skill training, budgeting and related services. 

A grant of $43,519.00 is sought to relocate and upgrade TPC resources into planned additions to the existing venue at Strathalbyn. Funds would provide energy-efficient refrigeration, shelving, storage areas and air-conditioning.

Develop a community fitness and nature play trail at school

The community fitness and nature play trail will be used by all to enhance and improve healthy bodies. It would be beneficial for the many students that struggle to participate on a busy playground during break time.

The obstacle trail would enable these children to access individual equipment to calm themselves and improve their mental and physical health and well being. The trail would also be accessible to the community out of school hours including the many parents that have children training at the basketball stadium.

This school based trail would also include nature play to connect people and environment.

A Safer School and Community Pedestrian Crossing and Refuge Island, Langhorne Creek

Our school is situated behind a community playground on a busy tourist and b-double route in Langhorne Creek.

We have access to a school "crossing” which is inconspicuous to vehicles travelling west, including many heavy vehicles (b-doubles, trucks, grape harvesters and tractors) and tourists to the region. Student lunch monitors use the crossing four times daily.

The crossing desperately requires an upgrade to a pedestrian island or flashing lights and more prominent line markings and signage which would present a much safer crossing for all users, school children and public playground users who cross the road to access public toilets.