Westies at Work Archives - The Westies

Stories of Strength – Abdullah Sankari

stories of strength

The Westies love a good story and believe that it is our individual story that makes us human – each of us have one that is as unique as our finger print. It is in sharing the story that we come to empathise with each other and start to see that the commonalities are far greater than our differences.

‘Stories of Strength’ is a project run by Bankstown Youth Development Services, which is about showcasing local Bankstown stories, focusing on experiences of strength and resilience. These stories are generated through a series of interviews conducted by local young people, who interview selected community members. Through inter-generational sharing of cross-cultural stories, the project aims to highlight the strength that individual experiences bring to create a strong and resilient community.

We had the pleasure of meeting a wise young man named Abdullah Sankari who interviewed Ilona Abou Zalouf, his best friend’s Grandmother who grew up in Germany during the Cold War for the ‘Stories of Strength’ project. We chatted about his experience with the project and what he learnt about strength and the power of sharing stories. Continue Reading

Peggy and Sean Wilcox – Mooney Real Estate

Mooney Real Estate

After several years in a less-than-fulfilling job, Peggy Wilcox decided it was time for a change and to finally follow that little voice that had always wanted to try working in Real Estate. Not to spoil the ending but things worked out well and now, three years down the track, she owns her own agency – Mooney Real Estate – along with husband Sean. Katrina chatted to both of them about starting the agency and what it’s like working with your spouse.  Continue Reading

Nick Atkins – The Joan

The joan

One of the most impressive buildings standing in Penrith is The Joan – a building that inspires, impresses and slight intimidates. Take one step inside and you find a state-of-the-art facility quietly turning out productions that go onto to play on stages all over Australia and the world. We recently spoke with Nick Atkins, a producer at The Joan, who is in charge of The Q – a specifically designated division for developing and producing theatre “in and from the heart of Penrith”. Nick and The Q are instrumental in making the arts accessible to a region that is seriously under-funded and under-represented yet bursting with talent and local stories to tell. Continue Reading

Bank of Queensland – Penrith


Why is it that the most important things in life are almost always seen as the most boring? Like banking – none of us get together over a drink to discuss home loans and interest rates (well some of us might but only to whinge about it). Banking is important, it’s part of our everyday lives yet it’s something most of us would rather not speak of. Checking your balance can cause more anxiety than that well overdue trip to the dentist.

 So we decided to rip the bandaid off and have a chat with Drew Clegg who has been with Bank of Queensland Penrith for 10 years now which is just about as long as they have been open.

 Drew is a lovely guy, generous with his time and has a great way of making you feel comfortable instantly; however when he suggested that the best way to know about the banking experience with BOQ Penrith is to speak to a customer – that is exactly what we did. The customer, Robert, has also been with BOQ Penrith for 10 years. Robert runs his own business and has purchased two houses at actions with the support of BOQ, here is what he told us about his experience. Continue Reading

Bradley Eastman – BEASTMAN


Back in August the students at Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High in Emu Plains played host to a pretty special artist in residence, Bradley Eastman better know as Beastman. Over the course of a week and though sunshine and rain Brad turned a once boring concrete wall into a huge piece of artwork in the unmistakable style Beastman is know for. Brad grew up in the north west of Sydney and now travels all over the world working on commercial projects, transforming public spaces and infusing the world with colour and geometric shapes you can stare out for hours, taking a new meaning out of each time the piece is viewed. We managed to track Brad down in between projects and were lucky enough to have him answer a few questions for The Westies.  Continue Reading

Pitch for Good in Parramatta

Social Enterprise


What happens when you put 5 people with 5  great ideas and a whole lot of passion on a stage in front of a crowd of people who want to change their community?

You start some good.

Continue Reading

Kate Worsley- Suburbist

Kate Worsley

It’s not difficult to find some who has had the same experience as me growing up. Great childhood in a tight knit community, then teenage years come and your world grows a little wider and you realise that the rest of the world views you differently just because you grew up in a suburb that is west of Sydney. Peer pressure gets to you along with the constant “where is that?” and “oh wow, you’ve come along way” and my personal favourite “There is no culture out there”. And so you buy into the “less than” myth and think you have to move to the city to prove your worth, especially if you work in the arts – you must immediately evacuate the barren, cultureless, urban sprawl that is Western Sydney. Searching for the very thing that you always had but were to scared to embrace, a strong diverse community steeped in culture, just without the fancy trimmings and pretty lights of the big city. If you are one of the lucky ones, your story comes full circle and you find yourself back in Western Sydney, realising everything you needed was there all along.  Continue Reading

Who Speaks for Me? – William Yang

William Yang

William Yang has been telling his own stories for over twenty years and now he along with producer Annette Shun Wah is helping other people to tell theirs. His latest production, Who Speaks for Me tells the stories of three different families and their experience of being refugees. The show uses personal narratives and photographs to take the audience into the heart of a migrants journey, the stories – at times humorous, at times harrowing – are ones of determination and resilience. Katrina sat down with William to have a chat about the production.  Continue Reading

Addventageous – Changing Communities One Cyclist at a Time

Charlene from Addventageous and the group


Sometimes you meet people who are just such a sheer force of will that you can’t imagine that anything they have done won’t be amazing and great and make change in their community. One of these forces is Charlene, the brains, brawn and bad-ass babe behind Addventageous. Pitched as a social enterprise designed to help anyone (and they do mean anyone) learn how to ride a bike, they offer so much more than that to the Parramatta community. From programs for disadvantaged families who need the confidence that comes from cycling to unicycle enthusiasts who want some space and equipment, to office workers who need a bit of a break from their desks  – Addventageous offers it all.

The Westies wandered down to the Parramatta River on a Friday afternoon recently to catch up with Charlene –

Continue Reading

I am a Westie and I went to TAFE

I am a Westie and I went to TAFE

I am a Westie and I went to TAFE said no one ever – well not out loud at least!

Continue Reading