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Grafton News

Grafton community flocks to NAIDOC Elders Day

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Young Aboriginal boys doing a cultural dance for NAIDOC
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Grafton community flocks to NAIDOC Elders Day

 

By Tim Howard

The Grafton community can take a bow for putting big smiles on the faces of local indigenous Elders during the NAIDOC Elders Day Family Fun Day at McKittrick Park, South Grafton.

One of the organisers Tracey Duroux, said Elders had been laughing and smiling all day as they saw around 500 indigenous and non-indigenous people turn out for a day to celebrate culture and also let their hair down.

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She said the her organisation, Bulgarr Ngaru and Gurehlgam had been joined by service providers for the Clarence indigenous community for the day.

Aboriginal Man in traditional outfit for NAIDOC Week on. stage giving a speech.

Bundjalung Gumbaynggirr man Dean Loadsman leads the Berinbah Dance Troupe during NAIDOC Elders Day celebrations.

“The idea was each organisation would put on some sort of activity for people to enjoy,” she said.

“We wanted people to see there was something else behind the serious side of the work they do.”

Ms Duroux said many local businesses had also donated to the event, which was also vital to the day’s success.

She said Gumbaynggirr Elder Auntie Helen Kennedy had given an outstanding Welcome to Country to open the event.

A group of people playing a game by throwing a bag through a target for NAIDOC week celebrations in Grafton.

Rebels ladies league tag player Tanisha Martin fires a pass straight through the target at the Naidoc Elders Day celebrations at McKittrick Park

Service providers also reported some outstanding results.

A spokesperson for Serco, which runs the Clarence Correctional Centre near South Grafton, said its stall had been swamped by people seeking information – and some of the 500 specially baked cookies they brought with them.

She said the centre ran indigenous cultural programs and was also a big employer of indigenous people as well as supporting indigenous organisations in the region.

“People swarmed through our stall,” she said. “We had brought all these cookies with us and barely had any left.

“But just as important, they nearly cleaned us out of the information brochures about the services we offer.”

Event organisers estimated more than 500 people came through the McKittrick Park gates last Thursday for the day.

“It’s such a great thing to see,” Ms Duroux said. “People from the whole community enjoying a beautiful day together.

“It reminds us of just what’s possible for our community to achieve.”

 

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Grafton News

STOCKSVILLE HEADLINES SEASON FINALE

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Shane Carlson - RSA Street Stockers STOCKSVILLE
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STOCKSVILLE HEADLINES SEASON FINALE

 

Hessions Auto Parts Grafton Speedway is set to conclude its 2023-24 season this Saturday afternoon / night with the annual Stocksville 100 event for the RSA Street Stockers and the Dash for Cash event for the Production Sedans.

Close to $10,000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs across both the Stocksville 100 and Dash for Cash events, with nearly $5,000 for the taking in Stocksville 100 and a cool $1,000 is set to be paid to the winner of the Dash for Cash event, and it’s a massive way for the season to finish up for Grafton Speedway.

Heading into the Stocksville 100, the favourite without a shadow of doubt is Raymond Terrace’s Shane Carlson, who has recently enjoyed a lot of recent success around the 440-metre Grafton Speedway track, where he is the defending Stocksville 100 Champion and also picked up victory in last season’s NSW Title. Carlson is no doubt aiming to make it back-to-back Stocksville 100 wins, but it certainly won’t be an easy task, as the likes of youngster Connor Reeves and Chris Corbett as his main challengers. The format for the Stocksville 100 is a total of three 20 lappers and one 40 lapper.

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For the Dash for Cash event in the Production Sedans, the field of winning contenders is wide open; however, drivers such as current NSW Champion Jordan Biviano, Madison Harkin, Dale Corbett, Geoff Hayes, Sam Mooney and Aaron Hall are likely to be right up there fighting it for the $1,000 top prize.

In the AMCA Nationals action, local veteran Tony Blanch is hoping to continue his solid 2023-24 season form around Grafton Speedway, and there is no doubt that he will be kept honest by out-of-town front runners in the father and son duo of Russ and Matt Hardy, as well as Paul Reeves.

Making up the program for Grafton Speedway’s season finale is going to be the RSA Four Cylinder Sedans, Modlites, Legend Cars, and Junior Sedans (both Top Star and New Star categories for their Gold Cup event).

For this Saturday’s 2023-24 season finale at Grafton Speedway, they have a special ‘Bring a Mate’ offer, where if there is one full paying adult, they can bring in an adult mate for only $ 10. Yes, that’s right, $10 only!

Grafton Speedway would like to thank Hessions Auto Parts for their 2023-24 season support, which is their seventh consecutive season as the track’s naming-right’s sponsor. With store locations in both Grafton and Coffs Harbour, Hessions Auto Parts stock a wide range of parts and accessories at competitive prices.

To find out more, contact them on 0266 423 085 (Grafton) and 0256 456 361 (Coffs Harbour) or visit their website at hessionsautoparts.com.au.

 

For more local Grafton news, click here.

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Alstonville News

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore
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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

 

By Sarah Waters

Koalas are becoming an increasingly rare sight in NSW and the one organisation that is dedicated solely to their care in the Northern Rivers is desperately trying to keep operating as normal.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital, operated by Friends of the Koala, has made an urgent plea for financial support.

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A decline in donations and available funding has threatened the hospital’s ability to operate effectively.

The hospital is specifically designed for the medical treatment of koalas and is the only wildlife hospital in NSW licensed to vaccinate all treated koalas against Chlamydia – the number one cause of death for koalas in the Northern Rivers.

General manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers said more than 350 Koalas are treated at the hospital each year.

“From July last year we’ve seen a 20 per cent increase in koalas coming in, versus the year before,” Ms Everaers said.

“It will continue to increase as the threats to koalas are increasing with climate change, natural disasters, habitat being destroyed causing more koalas on the road, which leads to car hits, dog attacks and more diseases due to stress.

“So that’s obviously concerning, and it has been really, really busy for our volunteers rescuing and caring for them,” she said.

The Northern Rivers Koala Hospital was formed in 2019 and is part of the wider Friends of the Koala (FOK) organisation.

The FOK organisation receives government grants for certain projects including a recent grant to vaccinate 300 koalas against chlamydia.

But no government money is received for the operational cost of the koala hospital.

General Manager of Friends of the Koala and Northern Rivers Koala Hospital Silva Everaers

General Manager of Friends of the Koala Silva Everaers

Half a million dollars needs to be raised by Friends of the Koala each year to cover the hospital’s annual operating expenses.

It is set up with diagnostic and treatment tools including ultrasounds, x-rays, a blood bank, as well as surgical and pathology equipment to provide specialised 24/7 veterinary care to koalas.

Until more funds become available the hospital may not be able to continue in its current capacity.

Ms Everaers said the priority was to keep the hospital funded and veterinary staff paid.

“That really is where the research and the magic happens,” she said.

“We work with over 300 volunteers, who do an absolutely incredible job rescuing and rehabilitating the koalas treated in our hospital, and because of that we are able to keep operational costs really, really low.

“But we can’t do it without financial support, in the end, there’s medicine, veterinary staff, the equipment we need, research facilities – it’s not free.”

Friends of the Koala have set up a special donation drive, appealing to the public’s generosity to help keep the hospital in operation and maintain their high standards of care.

Anyone with a heart for wildlife, including business owners and philanthropists, can become a ‘Friend of the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital’ at: friendsofthekoala.org or support by donating to the organisation.

Friends of the Koala are a grassroots organisation with more than 35 years of experience working on critical, on-the-ground activities to conserve habitat and protect koalas individually and as a species.

It originated as a charity focused on planting trees but has evolved into a multifaceted organisation that also provides 24/7 koala rescue, medical treatment, research, advocacy and community education.

Friends of the Koala has successfully rehabilitated and released over 2000 koalas back into the wild since its inception.

The Northern Rivers is home to one of the last significant, genetically diverse koala populations.

 

For more local news, click here.

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Grafton News

School’s mummy revives ancient history interest

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The Grafton High School Mummy Mummified Head
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School’s mummy revives ancient history interest

 

By Tim Howard

Bringing to life the face of a 2000-year-old mummified head stored for more than a century at Grafton High School, has also re-invigorated classical studies at the school.

History teacher Simon Robertson said it was no coincidence that the school has two Year 11 ancient history classes in 2024, just as interest in the Grafton mummy ramped up over the past two years.

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“I think it (the mummy) definitely had a lot to do it,” Mr Robertson said. ”The timing of it was when the mummies head podcast came out.

“Some of the kids were involved in the podcast generated a bit of buzz.

“A couple of kids talking about wanting to study archaeology now.”

He said when the ABC program Things the British Stole approached the school about doing a show on the mummy about 18 months ago, events began to take a life of their own.

Egyptologist Elliot Smith linked to the Grafton Mummy

One of Grafton’s famous sons, pioneering Egyptologist Grafton Elliot Smith has also been linked to the school mummy.

The show put the school in contact with Dr Janet Davey, a forensic Egyptologist from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and Department of Forensic Medicine, who kept the school updated on her research.

“She was getting herself in contact with a new expert from Monash or from a German university and then the world experts in Herculaneum in Italy,” he said.

“It’s pretty remarkable to think these things that we study in textbooks here in Grafton is actually you know, being connected as we speak. That’s been super cool.”

He said the mummy was an important artefact, with links to some of the big events in ancient history.

“From what I understand we’re the only school in Australia with something like this,” he said.

“And then it comes with a whole other sort of level of uniqueness, the fact that it’s a Greco Roman person and probably descended from the Ptolemies, who were connected to Alexander the Great.

“The fact that she’s undergone this medical procedure called trepanation in her head, and it’s one of the only mummies in the world, from Egypt where that’s evidenced, so when you talk about uniqueness, it’s pretty amazing.”

The Grafton High School Mummy Mummified Head

The 2000-year-old mummified head of an Egyptian woman has been kept at Grafton High School since 1915, It has recently been featured on an ABC TV show and spurred an interest in classical studies at the school.

The mummy was donated to the school in 1915 and had been buried in the school archives for a long time.

Mr Robertson said when he came to the school about 20 years ago, learning the school owned an ancient Egyptian artefact had stirred his interest.

“Because I was an outsider, I really engaged with it and I was kind of sharing the kids’ indignation that it was here and we began that campaign over the course of a few years to return it,” he said.

“But after that, it kind of sort of sort of disappeared into the upper echelons of the library there in that server room where it’s air conditioned.”

Mr Robertson said the extent of plundering of Egyptian relics over two centuries was the main reason the mummy had not returned home.

“It was the weight of the theft that had gone on in Egypt, particularly in the 1800s and early 1900s,” he said.

“The colonial powers had come in – the British and the French – and just taken everything and every one that they could get their hands on.

“If you go to the British Museum, the Louvre the Met, in New York, they’re just teeming with Egyptian artefacts.

“They said just in terms of the sheer volume of bodies, and artefacts that are out there, they just can’t support the repatriation.

“It’s not something that they don’t want, it’s just that it’s just impossible.”

The face of the Grafton Mummy

Forensic researchers have been able to recreate the face of the woman whose head was mummified around 2000 years ago in Egypt and donated to Grafton High School in 1915.

He said students had also been fascinated with the techniques used to probe the mummy’s secrets and recreate her face.

“Just seeing what else is out there,” he said. “And, you know, in the big cities that someone is a world expert on mummy tissue, and that’s what they spend their days doing.

“And some other lady has an amazing studio in Victoria where she spends her days you know, forensically sculpting.

“Just exposing the kids in a small town like ours to all the possibilities out there. And that history isn’t just dry and dull and in the past. It’s been it’s been amazing.”

He said the mummy’s links to former Grafton Egyptologist Grafton Elliot Smith, who pioneered the use of X-rays to study mummies and was a leading expert in the field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was also important.

“He was an amazing, fellow too, and to think that this might possibly have a connection to him and even bringing that connection that he has to Grafton back out so that people learn more about his achievements, is pretty cool,” Mr Robertson said.

 

For more local Grafton news, click here.

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