When Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler started working in local government in 1962, he was given two wooden nib holders, two nibs, a bottle of red ink and a bottle of blue ink.
Yesterday, Councillor Petschler was part of history when he launched Kiama Connect, a program that will see the Kiama council use the National Broadband Network and new video-conferencing technology - described as "Skype on steroids" - to deliver council workshops and engagement sessions online.
Cr Petschler said the NBN would transform the way the council engaged with residents. It would help the council reach groups that had been hard to engage, such as youth, the frail and elderly, people with a disability, parents with young children and workers who commute out of the area.
"We've come a long way since 1962," he said.
"Today is a historic day for us and for the NBN.
"The potential is enormous ... in ways we don't even know yet."
The live video conference yesterday that featured a workshop promoting the council's new Go Organics waste minimisation program, was held at the North Kiama Neighbourhood Centre. Joining in online were remote users from homes in the Kiama area, Kiama Library and federal government staff in Canberra. Funding for the program has been provided by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, under the Digital Local Government Program.
Cr Petschler said that after some minor issues with sound and a video at the start, the first trial ran "pretty well".
"This is a trial and the technicians will learn a lot of lessons," he said. "This is the first time that any council has gone live with the technology and by the time the community is fully connected to the NBN, these things will run seamlessly.
"The quality of the video is excellent," he said.