1st December 2023 – Bill Avery

Bill Avery is a retired business executive.

He is also the pioneer of the Federation track, a 3,000km bushwalking route from Sydney to Adelaide via Melbourne.

He was a member of the inaugural Great North Walk from Sydney to Newcastle in 1988, the Sydney Coastal Walk in 2008 and the Sydney Harbour and Coastal Walk in 2014.

Today he is Secretary of The Walking Volunteers and produces their online maps. These include Sydney Walking Tracks, Great West Walking Network and Coastal Sydney.

6th October – Aubtin Namdar – President of Blue Mountains Musical Society

Aubtin is an experienced educator and musician with a knack for all things technical, and a deep passion for Arts in the community.

With a Bachelor of Music (music Education) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, he is currently Head Teacher Creative and Performing Arts at Glenmore Park High School.

Away from the classroom, Aubtin has been involved as a Musical Director, Technical Director and Sound Designer for over forty theatrical productions throughout Sydney.

As the proud President of the Blur Mountains Musical Society, Aubtin will be speaking on the power of arts, creativity and connectedness in the Blue Mountains and beyond.



1st September – Gail Searle – Cancer Wellness

Gail will speak on all programs and services Cancer wellness has to offer

Gail is married with two girls and four grandchildren.
She worked for the police department prior to having her children then worked at Franklins until the company folded and she started with Cancer Wellness Support.
Gail has been managing the Penrith Op-Shop for ten years and is now the Retail Manager, overseeing stores in both Penrith and Katoomba. She takes much pride in what Cancer Wellness Support is achieving and looks forward to its continued growth.


26th May 2023 – Chris D’Arcy – Search Dogs Sydney


Search Dogs Sydney Inc are a specialist team with specially trained canines to find “live” and “deceased” humans. Whether that be lost in the bush, natural or man made disasters, single or mass casualty events, our qualified Search Technicians and their canines will be available 24/7

Chris will be bringing his dog ‘Boof’


5th May 2023 – Professor Richard Buckland – All things Cyber

Richard is Professor in CyberCrime Cyberwar and Cyberterror at the School of Computer Science and Engineering UNSW, Visiting Professor in Educational Design at the National University of Malaysia UKM, and Grand Challenge Visiting Professor in CyberSecurity at Taylors University.

He was Director of Professional Education and Chair of the Academic Board of the Australian Computer Sociery, Director of Education of the Australian Centre for Cyber Security, and a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia. He is the Director of the UNSW/CommBank Security Engineering Capability partnership -SecEDU, and long term member of the UNSW Academic Board and the University Academic Quality Committee.

He was the 2008 Australian and New Zealand Engineering Educator of the Year (Engineers Australia) and the 2013 Australian ICT Educator of the Year (iAwards) and has been the recipient of 10 peer reviewed awards in teaching and education including awards from the Australian College of Educators and the The Australian Learning and Teaching Council. He pioneered the first Australian MOOC, has hundreds of thousands of students and millions of views online, and is co-founder of social education platform OpenLearning.com.

His research areas lie in Education and Teaching, and in Cyber Security and Security Engineering. Currently he is working on the affective domain (emotions, belief, motivation and feelings), learning communities and kindness, non-mark based motivation in online education, and engineering secure electronic elections in untrusted environments.

Richard has a love for teaching and a deep faith in the potential of all his students. He has taught over 10,000 students face to face at numerous levels including primary school, high school, undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students, and hundreds of thousands of students electronically. He has a passionate belief in the importance of education, of learning, of thinking. He has a particular interest in unconventional students: including gifted and talented students and students with learning difficulties.

Before commencing his second degree he worked as an actuary and management consultant – which was not a patch on being a teacher 🙂 His hobbies include being a husband and dad, reading everything, cinema, bush regeneration, breaking things, puzzles, games, music, speaking in the third person, and being a rascal.



March 2023 – Annette Blake – Innkeeper


Annette has always had a passion for travel and exploring new ideas. During her time living in London, she wondered how she could make money from travel. In the end, the higher wages of ‘normal’ jobs won and that paid for her passion for several years abroad, and continued when she returned to Australia.

Annette is happily married to Gavin Blake. When considering where to create their home together, and an Anniversary trip to The Carrington, they explored the possibility of a small cottage for weekend getaways and remaining in Sydney to work. Annette stumbled across 14 Lovel Street, Katoomba, and knew it was meant to be. They soon abandoned plans to live between Sydney and the Mountains and made the tree change in 2018, just six months after becoming the proud new owners of No.14.

After a varied and eclectic career ranging from film distribution, celebrity management, retail, high-end lifestyle marketing, print production, design & branding agencies in Sydney and London, and a personal commitment as Non-Executive Not-For-Profit Director; Annette fell into her perfect role as the Accidental Innkeeper. She loves nothing more than welcoming guests to No.14 Lovel St and making them feel comfortable and relaxed; and relishes sharing her local knowledge of the unknown breadth of experiences to enjoy throughout the Blue Mountains.

error: Content is protected !!