The People

Neighbourhood Stories St Marys is an innovative project led by Penrith City Council’s award winning Neighbourhood Renewal Program in collaboration with the arts-new media company CuriousWorks.

The Neighbourhood Renewal Program is building creative pathways by engaging residents in the renewal of disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Our aim is to work in partnership with the residents of identified older, established neighbourhoods across the Penrith Local Government Area to identify the strengths and needs of each place. The Neighbourhood Renewal Program is underpinned by creative community engagement and works with residents and others to develop innovative approaches to identified issues. The ultimate goal of the Neighbourhood Renewal Program is to support sustainable communities. Our team is multidisciplinary and work within an integrated approach integrating cultural development, community engagement and local enterprise and employment.

CuriousWorks focus on empowering individuals with the skills to use digital and online tools to express themselves and share their stories. See

A dynamic team of people are behind the Neighbourhood Stories St Marys project, introducing the Neighbourhood Stories  St Marys Resident Project Team:

  • Galbert Albino
  • Dante Barcoma
  • Monica Castillo
  • George Ray
  • Caroline Volkiene
  • Chris Reid

The Neighbourhood Stories Resident Project Team

Meet The Team:

Galbert Albino

“I am 27 years old. I was born in the Philippines. I’ve been here in Australia for almost 3 years now. I am a student of theology. Pastoral ministry is my future career in life.”

Chris Reid

Making Tracks in Schools Programs Worker, SPYNS “I come from a tribal group known as Dhungatti Tribe up the North Coast of NSW. I am attending the Australian Catholic University and have completed an Associate Degree in Indigenous Education. I am currently starting my Bachelor in Education (Primary Teaching). This project has been a good experience to build on my knowledge of technology so I can share it with the students I teach and work with. Stay deadly.”

Caroline Volkiene

“I enjoy meeting people and listening to their stories, hence my interest in local history.”

Dante Barcoma

“I love to be with the community, I love hearing stories from the neighbourhood, because in doing so I learn from every aspect of people’s experiences. I have worked extensively as a Community Development worker in the rural areas of the Philippines. A song I learned from an International Course for Community Based Integrated Watershed Management inspires me to do what I do and it goes like this “go to the people, live among them, learn from them, and then plan with them.”

George Ray

“I’ve lived in St Marys for 56 years. My interests are supporting the community as a whole by participating on several committees which include the Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Association of NSW Inc (CPSA). I am Treasurer in Mt Druitt and Social Secretary for the St Marys CPSA and am also on several Penrith Council committees. I have enjoyed immensely working on the Neighbourhood Stories project, it has enabled me to meet some of the older citizens in St Marys and reminisce of days long gone.”

Heather Chaffey

Community Engagement Officer, Neighbourhood Renewal Program, Penrith City Council.  Heather is passionate about community participation and particularly enjoys new creative projects supporting the participation of groups which often don’t get heard.

Monica Castillo

“As a young person, you may think that my world consists of humourous Facebook groups and bad abbreviations 2 tlk lke dis lol. But as a 17 year old HSC student with a Filipino background, I think my world consist of stories. Interesting tales that allow us to remind ourselves of who we are. I have been living in St Marys for over 10 years and I learnt alot about the area from this project :].”

Stephanie Adam

Local Enterprise and Employment Officer, Neighbourhood Renewal Program, Penrith City Council. Although a ‘Gen Y-er’ her technology savvy was not quite as developed as you might expect. She thoroughly enjoyed the project and its challenges- and there were some challenges! Check out her improved digital media skills in the ‘Paul Mills Interview’.

Cali Vandyk-Dunlevy

Cultural Development Officer, Neighbourhood Renewal Program, Penrith City Council.  Cali is passionate about facilitating a creative space where communities have access to creative opportunities and to collaborate with artists; and the power these projects have to open new conversations, empower communities and change people’s lives. Cali loves learning from others and is inspired by the intersection points of creativity and new possibilities!

Elias Nohra

Educator, CuriousWorks. Elias is a filmmaker and new media educator from CuriousWorks. When not in a darkened room playing video games, Elias spreads new media skills to a variety of participants including passionate filmmakers and artists to community leaders and individuals who want to share their world through new media.