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Kendall is a community with a heartbeat



Kendall is a community with a heartbeat. Its vibrancy, diversity and charm throughout its colourful
history, has attracted a population whose passion for the area has fuelled Kendall‟s community
spirit and earned it a reputation as a great place to live.

Many descendants of the original settlers still live there and the „new settlers‟ who have arrived
over the past 20 years are helping to invigorate the community.

Settled in the second half of the 19th century and originally named “Camden Haven”, Kendall was
re-named in honour of Australia‟s first native born poet, Henry Kendall who lived there during his
latter years.

Situated around 370kms north east of Sydney and 36kms south west of Port Macquarie on the
Camden Haven River, Kendall is recognised as the arts and crafts centre of the region along with
being well known for hosting many nationally acclaimed cultural events.

The Kendall National Violin competition, the Camden Haven Music Festival and the Watermark
Literary Muster are classic examples of events which attract some of the world‟s best musical artists
and writers, and bring many tourists to the district.

The population of the village is around 750 with the surrounding areas boosting the total to just
under 2,500. Much of this population are hobby farmers and retirees who do not necessarily use
Kendall as their preferred centre. It is also interesting to note that over 30% of the local population
are under 20 years old.


From the early 80s the village of Kendall suffered from a variety of challenges as did many other
rural and regional areas …

Dairy – everyone in this room would be aware of the difficulties attached to this industry – many
local dairy farmers were forced to sell or diversify

Timber – changes to logging regulations, along with the State Forests closing their office and
operations in Kendall and moving to Wauchope was another challenge

Services – ANZ Bank, the village‟s only bank, left town; the Post Office became a licensed Post
Office with limited services; there was no doctor, dentist or any other para-medical professionals;
the local council closed the small library we had; the railway station became an unmanned station;
and the RSL Club was danger of closing its doors.

Economic decline – as a consequence of the down-grading of the village, the growth of the nearby
town of Laurieton, along with the financial problems of the residents, a look of neglect descended
upon Kendall and there was a local perception that the area was in a steep decline.

Council funding – the streets were in disrepair; kerb and guttering was limited to a few streets; the
parks and sporting fields were only given limited consideration; we lost our library;

     Alison Haylett               “Growing Small Communities” 2005                               1
We had an Unemployment rate of 13.5% - which was typical of many country towns and this
situation has not changed greatly.

However, when the roof blew off the community hall in a wild gale, instead of becoming yet
another disaster to hit the village, it became the catalyst for some local residents to decide that
enough was enough and it was time to do something about the whole situation. It became obvious
that it was not the village in decline but rather that the infrastructure had declined and/or
disappeared that supported the community diversity.


Restoration & revitalisation of services – since the early 80‟s people and organisations in the area
have been involved in establishing significant projects which offer many services to Kendall and
district: Kendall School of Arts (restored), Kendall Community Preschool, Camden Haven
Learning Exchange, Kendall Craft Co-operative and Kendall Heritage Society. The residents
rallied around the club and after investing their own funds renamed it the Kendall Services &
Citizens Club. More recently through Federal and State funding, we established a Community
Technology Centre in the Community Hall, providing many services for local businesses and
individuals, including computer and Internet facilities, computer training, office services, a
community newspaper, and lots more; we built a Rural Transaction Centre adjacent to the Hall
which currently houses a branch of the Bendigo Bank, CountryLink ticketing, a Centrelink Access
Point and a Remedial Massage Therapist (with more providers to follow);

Cultural events – Kendall now hosts annual events such as the Camden Haven Music Festival, and
the Kendall National Violin Competition, along with events hosted by the Camden Haven Arts
Council, and the bi-annual Watermark Literary Muster.

Tourism – as Kendall is in the hinterland of the mid-north-coast, one of the fastest growing areas in
the state, we are able to attract visitors to our area.
Besides the cultural events, attractions such as the herbal company Norfolk Punch, various farms
displaying on-farm activities, several Bed and Breakfast accommodations, well regarded historical
places of interest, and several sporting facilities all add to the diversity of the area.

Establishing services for existing businesses – through the Community Technology Centre (CTC)
and Rural Transaction Centre we are now able to offer much more support for existing businesses.
Through the Business Retention and Expansion Program funded by Department of State and
Regional Development (DSRD), local businesses are now much more aware of their local market
and the possible opportunities available. More about that later.
At the last election we conducted a petition outside the polling booth at Kendall collecting over 300
signatures in support of Broadband facilities in the area and lo and behold, Telstra actually brought
Broadband to town.

Assistance to cottage industries – by providing business services to very small businesses, we
have spared these people the expense of setting up their own – for example, computer and Internet
facilities, office services, etc, and through the ATO we provide free Tax Help and workshops.

     Alison Haylett              “Growing Small Communities” 2005                              2
Other positive outcomes
   – The relocation of the State Forest office enabled the Kendall Community Preschool,
      originally located in the community hall to lease the former Forestry office and
      consequently purchase the building and grounds.
   – The unmanned Kendall Railway Station gave the Kendall Craft Co-operative a venue in
      which to operate their craft shop and they maintain the station as well.
   – Whilst the Kendall Central School was re-classified as a Public School when the high school
      moved to Laurieton, they received a $2.5 million upgrade and refurbishment of the school.
   – The ANZ Bank branch was closed paving the way for Bendigo Bank, a very community
      oriented company to come to town.
   – Kendall Tennis Club become very popular boasting the highest membership of any tennis
      club in the municipality

And the hall got a new roof and has been well looked after ever since!


However these projects were all operating separately and the feeling started to grow amongst
members of the community that there needed to be a more cohesive and formal strategic plan for
the future of Kendall and district.


In 2003 Kendall received DSRD funding through the Main Street/Small Towns Program. This
funding provided an extremely valuable process by which we were able to develop a cohesive and
concerted focus on the economic and social development of Kendall and district.

Business After 5 – a business network which provided opportunities for business owners to support
each other by way of monthly meetings and networking

Database of businesses - through the BRE Program details of Kendall and district business profiles
and contact details were gathered along with indications of the potential for possible economic
growth in the area

The Kendall Chronicle is a fortnightly community newspaper distributed free of charge to 925
households which advertises the local events, businesses, and facilities along with local stories and
photos. It has proven to be a wonderful vehicle of communication in the area and one which
receives wholehearted support from the whole community. The Kendall Community Centre which
publishes the paper even makes some money out of it.

CTC@Kendall which is part of the Community Centre is a facility offering many services that are
not available anywhere else in town, eg. Computer and Internet facilities, office services, specific
assistance with business plans and printing requirements, training, video conferencing, and lots
more and was originally funded through a joint initiative of the NSW Government and the Federal
Networking the Nation.

Kendall RTC – offers those facilities I have already spoken of and continues to grow

     Alison Haylett              “Growing Small Communities” 2005                              3
Kendall Youth Club is part of the original CTC program and ebbs and flows as the youth in the
area need the facility

Kendall Pool opened in 2004 and is the result of magnificent community fundraising and liaison
with our local council and NSW Department of Sport and Recreation.
The Kendall Op Shop was established to raise those funds and continues to work towards
fundraising for more facilities at the pool and when that is completed, for other organisations in



The Main Street/Small Town Program funding we received from DSRD we called Kendall Future
Directions, assisted in giving Kendall and district a number of opportunites:

Greater understanding of economic activity in the district & future possibilities – 103
businesses and organisations in the catchment area were identified through the BREP survey and a
contact database and business profiles indicating potential for economic growth was compiled as a

Greater understanding of community and business issues – workshops conducted produced an
initial series of key issues and support for the establishment of the “Business After 5” monthly
meetings. Additional workshops were conducted to focus on individual issues of
telecommunications/broadband access, main street parking and beautification, and banking services

Closer social & cultural ties with the community – the expansion of the Kendall Communication
Group, an offshoot of the Camden Haven Chamber of Commerce based at Laurieton, invited the
involvement of recently formed organisation and groups. More regular community public meetings
were also established to discuss developments and raise issues, such as village planning and

Strengthened relationship with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council – a community public
meeting was held in conjunction with Hastings Council and provided an excellent forum for much
improved communication and collaboration. As a consequence of these improved relationship we
received further assistance from the council for the CTC and RTC

Successful projects to assist the sustainability of Kendall & district – I have spoken about them
previously – for example services offered by the Community Centre, the CTC and the RTC

Strategic plan to use as blueprint for managed economic growth & social development in
Kendall & district – through the program we developed a draft strategic plan and identified a
process by which to establish a future Strategic Action Plan for Kendall and district which will
focus on key issues and the people and groups to work on them

Which brings me then to the next DSRD project …

     Alison Haylett              “Growing Small Communities” 2005                              4

Kendall Future Directions Stage 2 – for which we have just received funding and have
commenced work upon. Whilst we have an environment which has been able to develop social,
cultural and sporting activities, in order to encourage economic development we really need the
assistance of DSRD. And we are extremely grateful for this help.

This project will review the draft Strategic Action Plan (initiated in 2003) for Kendall & district and
create a Community Economic Development Strategic Plan through a facilitated workshop to
which all local businesses and community organisations will be invited. A Work Plan for priority
actions will be created in conjunction with Port Macquarie-Hastings Council officers, for example,
main street beautification program and town planning issues for future development applications.

We will develop a Community Employment Program which includes a Work for the Dole
scheme – at this stage we will be investigating and negotiating with the relevant organisations and
undertaking a survey to identify local employment opportunities and investment outcomes.

Marketing material which will include a tourist map, brochures, postcards and information sheets,
will be subsidised by advertising and sponsorships

A Kendall and district website will be designed and developed promoting the district with links to
the many businesses and organisations in the area and we will also establish a system for income
generation through advertising on the website, maintenance and updating of our website and in the
future of other websites

It is gratifying to note that the enthusiasm of the project team has re-vitalised everyone at the
Community Centre and has certainly raised the profile of the program – consequently the list of
activities will be expanded to include further projects such as an interactive historical DVD and a
feasibility study for the establishment of a local historical museum.


The Kendall Community Centre continues to grow as the focal point of the village and by taking the
initiative, with the invaluable assistance from DSRD, in developing a Strategic Action Plan for
Kendall and district; it will be able to enhance the economic, social, and cultural assets of the area.

     Alison Haylett               “Growing Small Communities” 2005                              5

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