Stars shine on Bilpin once again a year after community campaign

Back to the bowl: Councillor Sarah Richards receives her "star" trophy from Bilpin Fruit Bowl's Margaret Tadross.

Back to the bowl: Councillor Sarah Richards receives her "star" trophy from Bilpin Fruit Bowl's Margaret Tadross.

It's been a year since the launch of the successful Back to Bilpin campaign, which was created to encourage folk back to the bushfire ravaged region.

It was an instant success, with some 800,000 people signing up the campaign's Facebook page and an abundance of folk then flooding the district's orchards and roadside stalls with visits and overnight stays.

The campaign was born from a meeting between Hawkesbury Councillor Sarah Richards and business owners Lionel Buckett of the Bilpin Tourist Alliance, Mike Sperling, head of Blue Mountains Accommodation and Tourism Association, with residents Michael and Jane Hughes.

Together, they set about determining the best way of letting tourists know that it was safe to return to the district.

"Bilpin wasn't at its best," said Mr Buckett. "But we needed Sydneysiders to come visit and spend their money to help us financially survive the Black Summer disaster. Almost all farms and many businesses rely on tourism are their primary or supplementary income."

Bilpin Fruit Bowl owner Margaret Tadross said the campaign was "just what we all needed".

"People came in droves and were fantastic," she said. "They were sympathetic and supportive and just wanted to do what they could to help us out."

Cr Richards recently returned to Bilpin to be presented with a small star trophy by Mrs Tadross as a symbol of gratitude.

"Sarah you are a star," Mrs Tadross said. "The campaign you initiated really helped everyone in Bilpin. Thank you for helping us all survive the Black Summer bushfires."