Sunbury vicar Gavin Ward tells reporter Matt Crossman that Sunbury’s charm remains, despite the challenges.


What’s your tie to the area?

I am the minister of St Mary’s Anglican Church, situated on the Village Green. I arrived in the area in December, 2006. I’d never visited Sunbury before then, but being a cricket tragic I was looking forward to living in the birthplace of the Ashes.


How has the town changed in that time?

Over the past 10 years, Sunbury has grown with many new estates and businesses in town. But its beauty and charm hasn’t changed. I can’t go down the street without running into someone I know, and strangers still greet me when they walk past. I still see kangaroos regularly on my morning exercise around Jacksons Hill.


What do you see as some of the area’s biggest challenges and opportunities?

Sunbury has some great challenges common to growing communities, including transport, parking and infrastructure. There’s also many social issues – domestic violence, those struggling with financial pressures and substance abuse. However, I’m also very encouraged by those individuals and organisations such as CareWorks, the [Rotary] community meals kitchen and Salvation Army, to name a few, who contribute so much to those in need.


How have you found St Mary’s as a church and Sunbury as a community?

St Mary’s is a wonderful, welcoming community of people who love God, follow Jesus and desire to share his love with all in words and in practical ways. The hospitality at St Mary’s is so good that I need to keep exercising to keep my weight in check.


What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love bushwalking and playing tennis with some great people at Sunbury Tennis Club. I love all things to do with planes, including playing on my flight simulator and with my model airport. Also, going to the footy and the cricket and spending time with my wife, Sharon. I enjoy the lovely walks around Jacksons Hill, Woodlands Estate and Emu Bottom, but I’m still waiting to spot a platypus there.


Where do you like to go for coffee or a bite to eat?

Just Planet is my favourite coffee shop, with their Fairtrade coffee and produce. I also enjoy Vic’s, the Spotted Owl, Jolly Miller and the Flag of India. My take-away fix includes fish and chips from Loz’s.