NOTHING could have been more apt than to celebrate the official launch of Fish Creek’s free public Wi-Fi with a morning tea party, complete with several teapots adorned in their own bespoke tea cosies.
After all, it was the town’s previously poor mobile telephone reception causing the COVID-19-prompted online Fish Creek e-Cosy Competition livestream opening in May 2020 to fail that started the quest for a reliable service.
The Wi-Fi launch tea party, hosted by the Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival committee, was held in the Little Oberon Café in Falls Road on Friday May 21, 2021 to coincide with International Tea Day.
Originally scheduled to take place in the Fish Creek Memorial Hall supper room, the change of venue for the tea party event was arranged because of major renovation works going on at the hall.
In pride of place on a long table loaded with sweet and savoury treats in between the teapots was a large chocolate cake handsomely decorated with ribbon and the green and white Fish Creek free Wi-Fi logo.
Tea Cosy Festival committee president Marge greeted those present at the tea party saying, “welcome to Fish Creek, the town that now has free Wi-Fi!
“We want to acknowledge and to thank our sponsors and everyone who has helped us to achieve free public Wi-Fi in the central business district of Fish Creek,” she said.
“Among our guests of honour today is South Gippsland Shire Council’s innovation and technology manager Nigel Yarranton, on behalf of the council, which gave us a $1000 COVID-19 Community Support Grant towards the cost of transmission equipment, and fast planning approval to put our Wi-Fi hub on the Memorial Hall after we found out it was heritage listed.
“National Broadband Network (NBN) Local community engagement manager Damien Cocks is here, and he has been integral in getting mobile service better in Fish Creek.
“Also present is our Wi-Fi network guru Richard Powell who designed Meeniyan’s free Wi-Fi hub and who has advised us on what equipment to get and how to set it up,” Marge said.
“Representing the Fish Creek CFA Brigade, which has one of the Fishy network’s several relay transmitters and antennas on their shed, are Birgit and Kerry Senior.
“The Fish Creek Hotel, Mick Dorling, and Alison Lester have allowed us to install transmitters and antennas on their buildings as well.
“We’re very happy, too, to have many members of the Morwell-based telecommunications company and internet service provider Aussie Broadband team at the tea party, who agreed to give us free data after we asked them for help,” she said.
“We’re in love with Aussie Broadband!”
Aussie Broadband’s community impact manager Caroline Kennon said the Fish Creek Wi-Fi project will help support tourism and small business in regional Victoria.
“With Gippsland being the regional birthplace of Aussie Broadband, we jumped at the chance to bring connectivity to both the community and visitors of the beautiful Fish Creek,” she said.
“Regional towns have never needed our support more than now, plus the Tea Cosy Festival ladies were very convincing!”
During the tea party Marge presented a short history of Fish Creek’s Wi-Fi project, from being unable to livestream the 2020 e-Cosy launch, via a litany of the various setbacks, such as weather, illness and even wild birds, that beset the project, through to “the great partnerships we’ve formed along the way.
“Good connectivity is an expectation wherever people go,” she said.
“Local community activities will benefit from public Wi-Fi, and we’ll be able to live stream all sorts of events from Fish Creek Memorial Hall – including the Tea Cosy Festival!
“And, everyone, including visitors and residents will soon be able to access the Wi-Fi right throughout the town, from the Fish Creek CFA Station right through to the Fish Creek Hotel, once we solve the last of the network’s glitches,” Marge said.
“Fish Creek is a delightful place – even the corellas think so; they loved sitting on the aerials of the Wi-Fi transmitters pushing them out of position, however Aussie Broadband was even able to assist with this problem!”
Fish Creek resident and community newsletter Fishy News editor Helen Ritt thanked Marge and the Tea Cosy Festival committee “on behalf of the Fish Creek community for all of your persistence!”
Fish Creek’s public Wi-Fi can be accessed via the current code, which is available from any of the local businesses and services displaying the green-and-white free Wi-Fi logo.
And, planning for the 2022 Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival, to run from Saturday May 14 to Sunday May 22, has already started; see www.tea cosyfestival.com.au for more information.