It's taken countless hours and volunteers over the years and now the Wesley Centre Bazaar is set to celebrate its 600th event.
The milestone bazaar will be held on Friday, August 2 from 8.30am and 11.30am. To mark the occasion, the first 100 customers will receive a free gift.
The bazaar is held on the first Friday of each month, except January, at the Wesley Centre next to the Uniting Church on the corner of Berry and Junction Streets.
It all started in about 1964, when an enthusiastic committee under the leadership of Rev Lloyd Manning, the resident minister at the then Nowra Methodist Church, got together to work towards establishing an Aged Persons Village to serve people in the Shoalhaven Community.
The first monthly bazaar was held on the first Friday in March 1965 as one of the fundraisers to see the project become a reality. Tradition has it that £100 was raised on that day.
It doesn't sound much but considering the year and the basic wage at the time, it was a valuable result, and those bazaars continued to support the project for many more years.
It was a great day when the first section of the village, then named SAPH (Shoalhaven Aged Persons Home), now operating as Uniting, was built and welcomed its first senior residents on October 8, 1967.
The State Governor, Sir Roden Cutler opened the facility, and Rev G.L Walker, President of NSW Methodist Conference dedicated the building. Among the other speakers, was the local State Member and Minister for Conservation, Mr Jack Beale. It was later named Manning House after the late Rev Lloyd Manning.
On May 29, 1972, Sir Roden Cutler was back in Nowra again to open the second stage of self-care units, named Leigh House after Rev Samuel Leigh, Australia's first Methodist minister. It was dedicated by the Methodist Conference President Rev E.A. Bennett.
As the fundraising continued all over Shoalhaven, the foundation stone of the next section of the village was laid by Mrs Lilian Wells, the State Moderator of the new Uniting Church, on October 30, 1977.
This partial care section, was described in one record, as "an exciting $1 million venture".
Osborne House as it was called, welcomed residents after the official opening on Saturday, March 24,1979 by the Federal Minister for Health, Mr Ralph Hunt. This section had two wings named after generous donors, Rainsford Shepherd and J & W Reid.
The complete range of aged care came with the opening of the Osborne Nursing Home, and was opened by the Minister for social Security, Senator Don Grimes on February 25, 1984. Since then additions and improvements have continued to this present time.
While now serving other missions, the monthly bazaar has also continued and made changes over the fifty four and a half years.
Until the beginning of this century these market days were held in the little hall across from the Nowra Post Office, which now is the home of the Wesley Opportunity Shop.
Since February 2001 the bazaars have been held in the much larger Wesley Centre. The same range of goods, all donated, stock the stalls with lovely craft items, tasty home cooking and jams, plants, books and second hand trash and treasure.
Back in 1992, Shirley Arthur commenced another stall of beautiful jewellery, well displayed and presented, which has been appreciated by many.
The little hall was very crowded and refreshments were served in an adjusting room, but now the stalls surround a cafe style set up, for the very popular morning teas with fresh homemade scones, jam and cream.
Organisers are hoping to see as many people head on down next month to help celebrate this considerable milestone of volunteer service in our community.