FOCUS On Burnside - the news hub

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This is our media hub of all things Burnside.

A hub for local news about people, businesses and happenings in our community.

You will see some beautiful photos of Wyfield Reserve, one of Burnside's biodiversity sites, at the top right of this page.


This is our media hub of all things Burnside.

A hub for local news about people, businesses and happenings in our community.

You will see some beautiful photos of Wyfield Reserve, one of Burnside's biodiversity sites, at the top right of this page.

  • Shed Ladies

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    The new Shed at Conyngham Street has expanded to also provide a service for women. Rose Squire and Helen Zakelj have been engaged to teach skills to women in the Shed. “Helen and I are really excited,” says Rose. “We’ve got some fantastic facilities here and a lot of equipment. There are opportunities for women to come down and have a nice cup of coffee, have a bit of a chat and learn some woodwork skills.”

    L - R: Rose and Helen with Men's Shed Facilitator Evan Reay

    Rose says women interested in developing skills they may already have and wanting to build on are welcome. “We’re in a position to cope with a wide range of expertise and if you’ve never picked up a hammer before don’t let that stop you because we can certainly help you with that.”

    Helen says 20 years ago an opportunity like this just wasn’t available. “I think it’s fabulous because we are all living longer - a lot of people are isolated, both men and women, so it’s a fabulous space to be able to just catch up and get that little bit of something that maybe they’re not getting,” Helen says. “A lot of women are by themselves and they just want to do something, maybe their partners had always done for them. So just to be a little bit independent and do things, it might be just to learn how to undo a screw or a bolt if it’s stuck – just do something little it may make them feel a bit more self-sufficient.”

    The two women are looking forward to the Shed ‘taking off’ and they are hoping it becomes a really good social hub for local residents.

    “I firmly believe that any shed of this nature should be a community shed,” says Rose. “I think there should be equal opportunities for everyone to use the facilities because it is a fantastic place to be and an opportunity for people to get together socially and also to develop some skills.”

    “I’ve got a long history in the building industry - I’m a self-employed carpenter/builder. I’ve been building houses and doing renovations and repairs for many years so hopefully I’ll be able to transfer those skills to the Shed here and be able to nut out any projects that people might like to tackle.”

    Helen adds, “You may not know how to do anything or you may be very handy with the tools. Maybe we can teach someone how to change a washer, glue up that special piece of woodwork that may have been broken or repair something that’s been in the family for a long time. The Shed is just amazing, it’s warm it’s inviting the staff are really nice and welcoming.”

  • Nursery Volunteers

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    Our team of dedicated biodiversity nursery volunteers guided by Dr Mark Ellis are now ‘ensconced’ in the new nursery at The Shed on Conyngham Street. After working for years at the old Laurel Street nursery they are now surrounded by ‘shiny new things’.

    Mark is Council’s Technical Officer, Conservation & Land Management and coordinates the biodiversity nursery.

    “This has been built specifically for our needs,” he says. “With new potting benches, automatic overhead watering, wash-down areas, a polyhouse and a fantastic nursery workshop.”

    The nursery is a hive of activity all year round with volunteers sowing seeds, propagating cuttings, potting up seedlings, and tending a wide range of plants native to Burnside that are grown for our biodiversity sites across the City. The nursery is also the hub for the plants grown specifically for the annual Native Plant Sale.

    “It is a full annual program,” Mark says. “Deciding which species we need to sow, when to take cuttings. Then there is the maintenance – fertilising, watering, thinning out and making sure we keep the stock healthy and free of pests and diseases.”

    The nursery can hold up to 10,000 native plants at peak time. Planting season starts once the rains have ‘broken’ which can be as early as April. Mark says the soil needs to be wetted thoroughly so to allow the plants’ root systems to establish well before the dry summer months. “Indigenous natives are usually not planted in irrigated areas so apart from some establishment watering in the first year they have to fend for themselves,” says Mark.

    “All the species grown at the Nursery are indigenous to the Burnside area so they have adapted to Adelaide’s dry climate. They are planted in our hills face reserves and urban biodiversity sites. This year we gave away around 3,000 plants to local residents to plant in their own gardens.”

    Every Friday a small group of dedicated volunteers partake in a structured session run by Mark where they plant, prune, pot and plan.

    “Our volunteers have a range of knowledge of our indigenous plants but all are very passionate about doing something positive for the local environment and enjoy learning about our local flora.”

    On Friday 28 August Mark took the volunteers for a walk and talk to show them areas of land management and revegetation (with the plants they have grown) at Wheal Gawler Reserve, Glen Osmond.

  • Senior Volunteer Retires

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    After 38 years as a volunteer Peg Bennetts is ‘retiring’. The 2020 Citizen of the Year has been volunteering on the community desk at the Civic Centre since 1982. At the age of 85 she has decided it is time to move on and “let someone young take over”.

    “I have loved my time here and made lots of friends,” Peg says. “I have seen a lot of changes over the years – there were no computers when I started!”

    Peg, of St Georges, is well-known for her quick wit and love of a chat. “I hear all the gossip,” she says with a wink. “And some good jokes!”

    She is a great story teller and has spent many a moment entertaining people with colourful tales, many that involve her pet cat Oscar, whom she loves.

    In her role at the desk she has been able to inform members of the community about what is happening within our facilities, and she has always done so in a very friendly and compassionate way, getting to know regulars who come to classes within the centre, providing them with a familiar friendly face.

    She is adamant she is not saying ‘goodbye’ and plans to visit regularly to say hi “and pinch a few books from the Library”.

    Peg is pictured with Tricia Foster-Jones, Senior Coordinator, Community Centres & Development (L) and Lisette Bruno, Volunteer Program Coordinator (R).

  • New timeline for state planning reforms

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    The Hon Vickie Chapman MP, Minister for Planning and Local Government, has announced that there is a new timeline for the implementation of changes to the state planning and development system.

    The Attorney-General's Department advised that a more definite date for implementation of the changes will be made in the future however has indicated it will not be before Christmas 2020.

    Read the media release.

  • Regal Theatre undergoing a face lift

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    The Regal Theatre has almost finished her facelift and make-over. From opening in 1925, The Regal Theatre has played a major role in the fabric and culture within the City of Burnside community. Council was forced to close the theatre in March due to COVID-19 restrictions and took the opportunity to bring forward the planned renovations. The whole plan was overseen by a heritage architect consultant, right down to the pattern of the carpet and the colour of the paint. More than 500 new seats have been installed, new carpet laid and all the paintwork spruced up. The overall aim of the upgrades is to increase customer experience, preserve the theatre’s traditional beauty, and make for a more comfortable visit.

    Steve Virgo has managed the theatre since December 2016. Steve had spent 12 years working for Hoyts cinemas, working his way up from usher to projectionist and then management. “That was the old days of 35 mm film,” he says. Steve left the cinema industry for a few years to work as a finance manager in a family company. “Being away from the industry for a few years I realised how good it was and I had a couple of close friends still in the industry.” In late 2016 he saw the job advertised to manage the Regal and Trak theatres. More than 200 applied and Steve was selected.

    “The fundamentals of managing a theatre don’t really change,” he says. “The big difference was the change to digital - that made it a lot easier.” In March 2018 Council took over management of the theatre and offered Steve the position of manager as a Council employee.

    During the COVID-19 shutdown Steve has been overseeing the renovations and writing an operations manual for the theatre. “Not many people know how to run all elements of a cinema so I put it all down in writing,” Steve says. The handful of casual employees were all offered alternative work with Council to keep up their hours.

    If all goes to plan the ‘old girl’ will be throwing open her doors to the public in September.

    Steve has plans to run events as well as show movies. “I am negotiating to have Rhonda Burchmore perform in October and maybe comedian Joel Creasey in November,” he says. Some of the big budget movies coming to the screen are the latest James Bond instalment No Time To Die and the Helen Reddy biopic I am Woman, starring Adelaide’s Tilda Cobham-Harvey.

    Check out the website for details


    The Chelsea Cinema is one of a number of historic theatres and cinemas which have been identified as being of State Heritage significance. The building, known as the Princess Theatre was constructed in 1925 and originally designed for silent movies but was adapted for talkies' when they became available in 1929. It was 'updated' from a late Edwardian design to an Art Deco design in 1940, and it this architectural character and quality which is the main basis of the history and significance of the cinema today.

    In 1928 the Princess Theatre became the Marryatville Ozone, when Ozone Pictures (later absorbed into Hoyts) took over the ownership of the theatre. In 1941 a substantial upgrade was undertaken for Ozone by the firm of F Kenneth Milne Architect.

    In 1963 the building was up for sale and Amoco Petrol Company was prepared to buy the Cinema and replace it with a petrol station. However, Burnside Council purchased the Cinema and leased it back to the previous owner, Hoyts.

    In 1971 Hoyts decided not to renew their lease and Wallis Cinemas tendered for the lease. It was then that the building was renamed the Chelsea Cinema.

    In 1983 the Cinema was entered on the State Heritage Register.

    In 2008, the City of Burnside received a request enquiring as to whether Council would be prepared to sell the Chelsea Cinema and the adjacent May Street property. Following a number of options being considered in regard to the future use of the Chelsea Cinema site, the decision was made to run an Expression of Interest process for the sale of the site. This ultimately led to a strong activism within the community, contesting any sale and demanding that the building remain in public ownership as a cinema in perpetuity. As a result, the City of Burnside abandoned the sale process and opted instead to lease the cinema to a private cinema operator. Republic Theatres were awarded the lease, and the Cinema was subsequently re-named the Regal Theatre. Republic Theatres ran the cinema until 2017, when Council opted to take over management of the cinema using internal resources.

    The City of Burnside implemented a Conservation Management Plan for the Chelsea Cinema in 2009, which was updated for the Regal Theatre in 2020 to guide the development, conservation and ongoing maintenance of the buildings, based upon an understanding of the history and significance, and the physical condition of the building.

  • National Seniors Day with Gail Miller

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    Join us to celebrate National Seniors Day with author and seniors’ advocate, Gail Miller.

    "When friends were slowing down in their 50s, I began writing books and ventured into public speaking. Exciting plans for April 2020 were placed on hold, but when I get the green light, I’ll be out there proving that regardless of age, we can do whatever we put our mind to – even if others think we’re mad!"

    Burnside Library, Friday 21 August, 1.30 pm, FREE

  • Living Smart

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    ** POSTPONED**

    Unfortunately this course has been postponed. For more information on new dates contact the organisers via


    Do you want to respond positively to issues like climate change or meet people who care about the environment and sustainability? Then Living Smart is for you! Through hands-on activities, group-based learning techniques, and guest speakers you will delve into ten Living Smart sustainability topics and leave armed with practical ways to live more lightly. It also includes a field trip to see first-hand how people are already taking action... and how you can join in! There is no need to have a background in the subject matter areas, courses are open to anyone who is curious.

    This is a 7-week course with weekly sessions from Thursday 3 September – Thursday 29 October, 6.30 pm – 9 pm at Glenunga Hub, Conyngham Street, Glenunga. Living Smart courses are designed for you to meet other local people, learn new skills and make lasting changes in your life.

    This course is brought to you by the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the Cities of Burnside and Norwood, Payneham & St Peters.

  • Market at the HUB

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    There’s a new market in town; a hub for designers, artists, foodies and creatives. Introducing Market at the HUB.

    Starting Saturday 19 September and operating every third Saturday of the month from 9 am – 1 pm, Market at the HUB will bring together over 30 traders at the Glenunga Hub, Conyngham Street Glenunga. The market will offer a variety of items such as arts and crafts, homewares, stationery, fashion, skincare, children’s clothing, local produce and unique handmade gifts.

    Market at the HUB is brought to you by the Rotary Club of Burnside and is supported by the City of Burnside. Proceeds from stallholder charges will be used to fund local community, interstate and international projects focused on the environment, education, youth and community development via the Rotary Club of Burnside.

    To find out more about this local event, or to apply as a stallholder, please go to

  • Bill Chandler MPIA (Fellow)

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    After seven years as independent Chair of the Council Assessment Panel (CAP), and a career in urban planning for 50 years, Bill Chandler is stepping down after deciding to pull back on his Council commitments.

    “It’s been a pleasure to work in the planning industry as I long as I have,” Bill says. “But it is also frustrating sometimes. There is a need to balance politics, planning policy, good urban design and community expectations in order to achieve quality outcomes; sometimes this is tricky.”

    Bill says the new planning legislation will put enormous pressure on the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. “Burnside has always had an environment of bigger allotments and open space, together with a unique character and streetscape. The ability of the local planners to guide good development will be impacted and consultation with local communities about proposals that may affect them will be reduced.”

    Bill says to maintain Burnside’s unique place in metropolitan Adelaide we will have to fight a lot harder. “My experience tells me that you can never write a planning policy document that tells you how to design something that is good. There is a lot of pressure for infill. One house on a large allotment has the potential to become three,” Bill says. “The tree canopy disappears, the streetscape changes and there are more cars on the street. Adelaide has a unique and mixed urban environment and what fits in one suburb may not be suitable in Burnside.”

    “I have real passion about passive, low energy, well designed buildings with the correct orientation,” Bill says. “Living areas should face north and solar energy use is encouraged. The big housing companies often have a large suite of designs, but sometimes they don’t necessarily suit the block they are planned for, so the potential energy savings are lost.”

    At the CAP, Bill and his colleagues can tell when an architect or design professional has been involved as there is generally a lot of support for the policy in the Council Development Plan. “Many builders have designers, but a lot of project builders don’t have planners or architects. They sometimes put forward proposal plans without first considering or understanding the planning policy which might apply. The Council is then, in my view, unfairly criticised when the plans are rejected,” Bill says.

    Bill says there needs to be more communication between Councils, government, the construction industry and importantly local communities. “I see the planning industry as a coordinator of all of the design elements, and bringing together builders, architects, designers, engineers etc.”

    “I have always seen my role on CAP as an opportunity to make a difference, present a refreshing view to local government about what is good quality design and how design outcomes can ‘fit’ within established urban areas such as Burnside. Another reason is that I have been able to mentor those involved in local planning, including planning staff and of course members of Council. I trust they have learned a little from my input and experience.”

    COVID-19 is a wakeup call, according to Bill. “How will people live and work in the future? The planning profession has a great opportunity to guide people through future life changes. This will mean consideration of our current urban fabric and local environment qualities, future development densities, accessibility and location to work opportunities, shopping and community facilities.”

    “It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to be involved with the CAP at Burnside and my best wishes for the future go to all.”

  • How batty is Burnside?

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    The native plants and animals that exist in the City of Burnside make a substantial contribution to the character and identity of the area. Plants are ever-present, like the distinctive giants, the River Reds and Blue Gums. In winter and spring each year the Hardenbergia have showy purple flowers, followed through spring and summer by those of the Kangaroo-apples. And year-round there is a chance one might see an urban marsupial, like a koala or a ring-tail possum. We are lucky to experience such unique and beautiful flora and fauna, right at our doorstep!

    Left: Microbat, Leser Long-eared Bat: pic Terry Reardon
    There are a multitude of mammals that share the Burnside area. Bats are surprisingly common in Adelaide, but because most bat species are small, we

    do not realise how abundant they are. These small and abundant bats are called ‘microbats’. Some microbats weigh less than 5 grams!

    There are likely to be five to ten species of microbats in the Burnside area, and they are very important to have around. Microbats control insect populations, including mosquitos. It is a great benefit to have these little bats cleaning up mosquitos for us. These bat species were present in the region long before the City of Burnside was established.

    Larger bats have more recently set up camp in Adelaide, the Grey-headed flying foxes. These are part of the ‘megabat’ group and sometimes called fruitbats. They are 23-29 cm in length, with a wingspan of up to a metre. The wings are a similar length to those of a sulphur-crested cockatoo, but with a distinctive bat shape that makes them easy to recognise as they fly across the evening sky.

    The Grey-headed flying foxes are a threatened species, found only in Australia, that became resident in Adelaide around 10 years ago. These bats are also helpful to have around because they disperse the pollen and seeds of native plants. The flying foxes roost during the day, with a permanent camp near the Adelaide Zoo. They visit trees in Burnside on a seasonal basis but can be seen overhead on a nightly basis.

    Grey Headed Flying Fox : pic Vivian Jones

    Bats are often reported to carry diseases, which can be the case, however there is little cause for concern; we have been living among bats for a long time with no concern about their presence – you may not have even realised they live in your neighbourhood. There is no need to worry if bats fly overhead or visit your garden. The key to bat safety is not to touch them even if they are dead or injured. If you find a bat that is dead or injured, contact the RSPCA or a wildlife rescue organisation.

    The City of Burnside is renowned for its trees and is one of only three council areas in Australia to be recognised as a Tree City of the World. The trees and wildlife together provide our natural heritage, a distinctive character, and play an important role in conservation. The area provides habitat for native species that are struggling elsewhere, like koalas and Grey-headed flying foxes, both of which are listed nationally as threatened species. It is a contribution we can make and enjoy for generations to come.

Page last updated: 15 October 2021, 09:00