A full account of the history of our charity the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust (EGS Trust) can be found in the The Elm Grove Story – a mystical journey written by the founders Edwin and Laurel Lloyd-Jones.  It is a lived example of what deep trust can bring forth with God’s leading. Please see the links on the Our Book page for where the book can be purchased.

With the re-location of the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust back in 2001 to the far-south coast of New South Wales, the work of the directors continued based upon the principles on which the charity was founded. These are outlined in the Our Purpose page.

Most Recent History (2001 – 2023)

Bellbird Cottage utilised for Fund-raising and continuing the work of the Trust

With the move to the far-south coast Laurel and Edwin continued to offer retreat space, counselling, and the care of those caring for others who were needing restoration of both physical and spiritual energies. Bellbird Cottage had been a bed and breakfast establishment offering very comfortable accommodation. This continued on, but now it was offered on a suggested donation basis, so that it was available to those in most need.  These donations enabled the valuable work of the Trust to continue.







Bellbird Cottage provided generous space for group meetings and fund-raising events to support the work of the Trust. A large dinner was held to raise funds for asylum seekers and our ‘Caring for the Carers” program and retreats continued to be offered.

Forming the Bega Valley Rural Australians for Refugees

In 2001 with the inhumane action of the government towards Asylum Seekers the EGS Trust formed the Bega Valley Rural Australians for Refugees. Sr Laurel’s submission for Bega Valley Shire Council for Bega to become the first Welcome Town for Refugees was based upon an earlier model introduced after the second world war in support of the influx of refugees. This submission resulted in a unanimous vote supported by councillors. Resulting from this Laurel was interviewed extensively in the media and invited to speak on the issue as other towns sought to become Welcome Towns. She addressed a forum at the National Museum in Canberra and was a guest speaker at an international conference on human rights in San Francisco.

The Trust offered support through:

  • large shipments of donated clothing, toys etc sent to detention centres.
  • raised funds and offered beachside holidays at Bellbird Cottage in Bermagui for those released from detention.
  • supported families and individuals with advocacy and counselling.
  • appealed to government and the wider community to raise awareness, seeking to bring justice and to reduce suffering.
  • informed and educated the public and challenged incorrect political labelling of asylum seekers as “illegals” as Australia was a key signatory to the International Convention for Refugees.

Narooma High School Program for Koori Kids

Narooma High School’s Special Education Teacher, Todd Helton, contacted our charity in 2018 to ask if we might assist with funds to set up a program for Aboriginal students in his specialised support class. We felt very committed to support the establishment of this program.

Aimed at students who had always found school life challenging, Todd’s vision was to establish a skills and values program to enable students to successfully transition from school to the community and the workforce.

  • Using an integrated learning approach to connect key learning areas in maths, science, geography, and history to enable students to understand the significance and application of knowledge through skills that they would be acquiring.
  • He proposed a gardening project with a future workshop where students would be able to practice their newly learnt skills in a supported setting that would increase the opportunity for success in learning.
  • The outdoor garden area would provide hands-on learning of construction, landscaping, horticultural skills, leadership, team work and self-regulation strategies and create an aesthetically pleasing and calming environment to access at times of stress and anxiety.
  • Additionally, the health benefits of fresh food and outdoor recreation would bring additional benefits.

We began a fund-raising campaign and businesses and individuals contributed funds and materials. Students fenced the site, built raised garden beds and planted seedlings. Maths became worthwhile as they estimated each project including ordering cubic metres of soil etc.

We purchased a shipping container and installed windows to provide a workshop area for storage of tools and equipment used to teach crafts, art and carpentry. A Yarning Circle was created for group times. This program has brought bountiful outcomes as students now sell their excess vegetables to the teachers. They manage their budget with book-keeping skills now well understood.

Fund-raising following the 2004 Tsunami

When the major earthquake struck in December 2004, causing 227,898 deaths in fourteen countries across the Indian Ocean, Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust held a major fund-raising effort, along with other charities, to raise several thousands of dollars.

Sydney Body Art Ride fund-raising for Children’s Cancer Research

In 2005 our Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust director, Jake Lloyd Jones held the first of his creative body art rides in Sydney to raise funds for the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. Following the death of his first wife Denise Matthews with chronic myeloid leukemia, he saw the need for sustainable and healthy living practices.

A large group of people adorned with body art formed a rolling rainbow of hope as they rode their bicycles from Randwick to Maroubra Beach. The ride was supported by the Lord Mayor of Sydney in her proposal to create an alternative transport system for Sydney to provide cycle ways along all major railway lines.

Public Forums/Workshops/Rallies

A focus on global environmental sustainability, climate change, economic imperialism, Asylum Seekers, and a world challenged by increasing terrorism led to the Trust holding public forums in Bermagui. High-profile keynote speakers, such as Dr. Carmen Lawrence, Sr Jane Keogh (Refugee Action Committee in Canberra), scientists, land care managers, authors and poets, and highly respected locals, such as well-known Bermagui jazz and vaudeville performer, Patricia Thompson. These forums were well attended.

The Trust supported an anti-war rally which was held in Bega.

In 2005 Laurel presented a workshop for the Bega Women’s Gathering offering a meditative and experiential ‘Cosmic Walk’ that began with the ‘big bang’ until the present age. This awe-filled time-line walk through the evolutionary stages of our earth was presented to and enjoyed by many groups over a number of years.

Save Our Bermagui Action Group (SOBAG)

In 2007, when a major environmental threat planned for Mead’s Bay on Wallaga Lake in the Bega Valley region, the Elm Grove Trust formed the Save Our Bermagui Action Group (SOBAG) to enable the local community to raise their concerns. In supporting the Wallaga Lake Estuary Management Committee’s opposition to a proposed large residential development, a lengthy and time-consuming campaign ensued involving much intensive lobbying and activism.

  • The Trust held several public forums as the mayor and his female deputy, a very close personal friend whose property was to be included in the development, supported this development ignoring the community’s grave concerns that this would endanger the sensitive Sanctuary Zone within the Bateman’s Marine Park.
  • There was much rejoicing in the community when an expert State Government Panel, headed by Dr Andrew Refshauge blocked the rezoning of this land for residential development.

Upholding justice for an Indigenous family after their home was invaded

When the Campbell family in Bermagui were attacked while sleeping in their beds by a mob of racist and drug and alcohol fuelled group of white youths threatening to set fire to their home, this Indigenous family were later referred to Sr Laurel for advocacy and counselling. With the failure of local public figures to address the prevalent issues and police charging the victim family with assault and affray, Laurel advised them to write to the State Ombudsman with their concerns.

Following this:

  • Laurel complained to the NSW Premier over the bullying action taken by the mayor when accompanied by his female deputy, he came to the Campbell’s home uninvited to demand they retract their statements regarding his inaction and lack of support.
  • Laurel was subsequently sued by the mayor, Mr Tony Allen, for defamation. She spent the next 6 ½ years defending this through the Sydney District Court, Supreme Court of Appeal, Mediation, the High Court of Australia and again at re-trial in the Sydney District Court.
  • With the large legal expenses after the first trial being met by the Trust, Laurel was extremely thankful when her barrister the late Clive Evatt and his legal team generously fought her battles pro-bono throughout the subsequent court actions.
  • Truth was subsequently the victor. Justice Judith Gibson found that from the viewpoint of community standards that the mayor ‘did bully a woman and intimidate her by acting in a bullying and overpowering manner’ towards Mrs. Campbell.
  • The mayor was instructed to publicly apologise to Mrs. Campbell after he was found to have breached the local government code of conduct as mayor.
  • Mr Allen absolutely refused to apologise.

  Muriel & Gary Campbell    Barrister Clive Evatt (dec.)

Counselling, advocacy and support continues for those who are marginalised

The work of support both in advice and financial assistance for those who are struggling continues to be a major aspect of the Trust’s work. Sadly, this work is always with us as we strive to lift people up to assist them in their challenging lives. We provide references for employment opportunities, reports for court appearances, and financial assistance where possible. Our funds are very limited so we are exceedingly grateful for all donations that allow this work to continue. These donations are tax deductible and are receipted.

After-school Study Centre at Wallaga Lake Aboriginal Community

In 2015 our Trust offered to work in partnership with the Ngaardi Women’s Group to obtain funding to enable the study centre to re-open after it had been closed for some time. Our aim was to support the children to be able to confidently complete school homework and enhance their cultural and artistic abilities.

  • The aim was to make learning fun, bridge the academic gap and encourage new and former skills through cultural appreciation, music and art.
  • Funds were raised through support from local service clubs and from two generous grants from our submissions to the Commonwealth Bank Staff Funded Grant Program and an Australia Post Staff Funded Grant. Each of these grants were for $10,000. This enabled us to employ an Indigenous co-ordinator and cover public liability costs, equipment supplies and a hot meal before the children went home each evening.
  • Several teachers donated their time to provide assistance to the children as did the Ngaardi women.

This program ran successfully for several years.

Our Annual Encouragement Grants

The Trust’s Encouragement Grant was established in 2021 in response to COVID-19 impacts on Australian communities and individuals. The grant is a one-off payment of up to $2,000 to support creative projects, or new ventures in their initial stage of development, that align with the principles of the charity. Its aim is to ‘encourage’ people to begin, or further develop, a project they might not otherwise be able to. The grant may also provide the applicant with links to an appropriate source for mentoring to enable greater progress and success.

Supported projects include, but are not limited to, those in the areas of:

  • art, music and creative skills (especially in the young and in marginalised groups)
  • spiritual values focusing upon hope, compassion and action
  • raising of awareness and education in caring for our planet
  • improving health outcomes (both physical and mental)

Allison Walker (below) was the 2022 recipient of the Encouragement Grant.








Elka Wood (below) was the 2023 recipient of the Encouragement Grant.









For application details see our dedicated Encouragement Grants page. We are always most grateful for donations in support of this project of the Trust.

For details on our Foundational History, please go to this page.