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Lambton Mechanics Institute members etch names in history books


Three Newcastle Crown Land managers, who boast a combined 99 years of unpaid service, will etch their own names in the history books.

To coincide with National Volunteer Week, Dr Ron Robinson, Pamella Ellen and Kevin Goodwin are being recognised for their outstanding contributions as board members of the Lambton Mechanics Institute.

The trio, who have each served more than three decades, were honoured at a special ceremony at the Elder Street premises on Tuesday 21 May.

Alison Eaton, Kevin Goodwin, Pamela Ellen and Dr Ron Robinson.

They received Crown Lands Service Recognition Award certificates, while fellow board member Alison Eaton was also acknowledged for 10 years of volunteer service.

“Three generations of my family have lived and worked in the Lambton area,” Dr Robinson said.

“I have the great pleasure of being able to facilitate the continued use of this building by the local community and see so many social groups involved in its day-to-day use.”

Lambton Mechanics Institute was established in 1870 as a place of learning for miners.

The existing building was constructed and opened in 1894, however it ceased its original function in 1958.

But, it remained under a trust until 1991.

A new one was established in 1992 with Dr Robinson, Ms Ellen and Mr Goodwin its founding members.

Lambton Mechanics Institute and adjoining Institute Hall remain an important local heritage site, now used as a base for the Newcastle Family History Society, Hunter MG Car Club and the Lambton Meals on Wheels.

Ms Ellen said she was delighted to preserve this important piece of Newcastle history.

“I have lived in Newcastle my entire life,” she added.

“So, I’m proud to have helped preserve Lambton Mechanics Institute’s heritage and keep it open and functioning as a space for the community.”

Kevin Goodwin inside the Institute Hall.

Mr Goodwin explained his family had deep ties to Lambton as well.

“I have lived in the area since 1945,” he said.

“It fills my heart with joy the way Lambton Mechanics Institute is being used by the community today.”

Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery congratulated the three members.

“Crown Land managers play a vital role in ensuring public assets are accessible to the public,” she said.

“Lambton Mechanics Institute is a fantastic piece of local heritage.

“I thank Ron, Pamella, Kevin and all the volunteers who have dedicated their services over the past 30 years to ensure this piece of Crown Land and heritage buildings are maintained and accessible to all.”

Crown Lands executive director Sarah Lees (centre) with Alison Eaton, Kevin Goodwin, Pamela Ellen and Dr Ron Robinson at the Lambton Mechanics Institute.

Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper said National Volunteer Week was the perfect time to stop and thank all the volunteers who help improve Crown Lands.

“We acknowledge and express our gratitude to all Crown Land managers across the state who provide outstanding service to their community, including the dedicated long-serving volunteers in managing the Lambton Mechanics Institute,” he stated.

“Crown Land reserves play an important role protecting the environment and supporting communities with everything from green open space, parks and walking tracks to showgrounds, sporting ovals and community halls.”

There are more than 2,500 volunteers involved in management across the state, freely giving their time, skills and energy for the good of their local community.

Over coming months, many more long-term helpers will receive certificates for their service, including another 28 individuals who have volunteered to the management of Crown Land for over 30, 40 and some have served on a board in excess of 50 years. 

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