Our History

Shoalcoast started in 1999 out of necessity for a free legal advice service in the Shoalhaven, but has grown to be so much more than that.​

The Illawarra Legal Centre was the last free legal service from Warrawong to the Victorian border. Illawarra Legal Centre held an outreach service in Nowra, but it still was not enough.   There was a  great need for a Community Legal Centre in the South Coast

For a few years Illawarra Legal Centre researched, identified and lobbied with the outcome being “Who’s Haven, Legal Needs of the Shoalhaven Community”. Researched and written by Megan Pikett, with assistance from many at the Illawarra Legal Centre, became the bible that would see our birth in 1999.

In 1998, a tender was prepared and submitted by Jane Cipants, and given to the Attorney Generals office. With much delight and surprise, the tender was accepted and funding was allocated to create what would become Shoalcoast Community Legal Centre.

The first task was to find staff and a home. Then it was to get out into the community, and we did just that. Everything from there was and is a blessing. We celebrated our first, fifth, tenth, fifteenth and most recently our twentieth birthday.

At our 20th birthday, we partied like it 1999, and reflected on what has happened over the past 20 years. The connections made in the community, the friends and colleagues who have helped us grow, the highs and lows, but most importantly, our clients. We could not function as a community legal centre without our clients, and we are proud to serve each and everyone of our clients.

In the 2019-20 financial year, Shoalcoast did the following:

  • We experienced the sad devastation to our communities from the bushfires in the South Coast  
  • We all adapted to working remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions and proudly continued to provide services to our clients by telephone during this time.
  • We held a Wills day at Wreck Bay with our pro-bono partner, Hall and Wilcox
  • Shoalcoast worked on the Collaborative Legal Services Planning Pilot with Legal Aid and ALS, to plan our outreaches and CLEs.
  • We held our Annual Koori Touch Football day – in it’s 8th year and we had 12 teams, 8 stalls and over 400 people attend