12 April 2024

What's the secret to being a good neighbour? Shellharbour's best spill the beans

| Zoe Cartwright
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Greg and Sue Walsh pictured with Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer and Rachel Hamilton from Good Neighour Awards sponsor Lendlease Calderwood.

Greg and Sue Walsh, pictured with Rachel Hamilton from Good Neighour Awards sponsor Lendlease Calderwood and Shellharbour City Mayor Chris Homer. Photo: Shellharbour Council.

Good neighbours don’t only become good friends on TV – just ask the residents on Greg and Sue Walsh’s street.

The Mt Warrigal couple have lived on the corner of Cotts Parade and Thrower Avenue since 1978 and are the winners of the 2024 Shellharbour City Council Good Neighbour of the Year award.

Shellharbour City Council announced the winners of the 2024 Good Neighbour Awards at a special celebration at the Civic Centre on Friday night.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate the community members who reach out, support and help care for the people in their neighbourhoods.

Greg said he and Sue were on holiday and came home to find the nomination letter sitting on their table.

“They had all got together and put their spin on what they thought of us; we were quite taken aback,” he said.

“I don’t feel I’m any more deserving than anyone else around, there’s lots of good community people here.”

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Shellharbour City Council celebrates Neighbour Day, held on the last Sunday of March each year, and the Neighbours Every Day campaign through the Good Neighbour Awards.

Sue said they were overwhelmed when they were announced as winners at the awards ceremony.

“The council gave us certificates of recognition and our neighbours had all commented on them; it was just lovely,” she said.

“We’ve been here the longest; we’re more like grandparents than parents at this point I think.

“It’s a really lovely little community; when we moved in 46 years ago the neighbours across the street came over with dinner and a cake, and that’s what the whole area is still like, everyone is like that.”

Mayor Chris Homer congratulated the winners, and those who nominated them, for making their neighbourhoods great places to live.

The secret to being award-winning good neighbours might surprise you.

It isn’t about having the perfect lawn – or never yelling at your kids.

Greg and Sue said the key was good old-fashioned kindness.

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“Greg’s quite mechanically minded, so he’ll help out anyone having troubles with their car,” Sue said.

“We give away the limes off our lime trees, other neighbours give me something out of their garden; we’re just being kind to each other, it’s not something we think about.”

Greg agreed and said having good neighbours around you helped.

“We’re a happy little street and we look out for one another,” he said.

“We’re a bit of a multicultural mix as well. When new people move in, introduce yourself.

“I’ll always say g’day if I see someone walking to the shops or offer a hand if I see someone unpacking groceries by themselves.

“I don’t think it’s anything special, but I tell myself that’s my good deed for the day and I think if everyone was like-minded the world would be a better place.”

Sue said the couple felt lucky to live in a community of like-minded people.

“It’s a lovely area to live in; I never want to move.”

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