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Northern Rivers Local News

Born in a sulkie 105 years ago



Norm Anderson

Born in a sulkie 105 years ago

By Samantha Elley

He hasn’t quite gained the title of oldest man on the Northern Rivers, but Norm Anderson is certainly in the running, as he celebrated his 105th birthday last Monday in his home at Ballina.

Born on 29th November, 1916 Norm’s mother was rushing to the hospital in a sulkie when Norm decided to make an appearance.

“She never made it to the hospital,” Norm laughed, “I was born in the sulkie in North Lismore.”

The world was in the middle of World War One, with Germany initiating the first attack on London only the day before Norm came into the world. Peace was still two years away.

Growing up in Nimbin, Norm became a dairy farmer and banana grower.

He married his first wife Lila in 1940 and they had three children: George, Lionel and Denise.

Norm loved his life on the farm, but when Lila got sick they left it for Ballina, where they built a house to live in and units to rent out.

“He never would have left the farm except that Lila got sick,” said Phyllis, Norm’s second wife.

From there Norm worked as a surveyor’s assistant on the roads until he retired at 65 years old.

When Norm turned 100, family and friends celebrated with a big party at the local club.

“The celebrating went on for three weeks,” laughed Phyllis.

Norm has insisted on a quieter celebration this year with Phyllis by his side and sitting in his favourite spot on their enclosed verandah.

“He doesn’t like cake but I will probably get him some prawns to celebrate,” said Phyllis.

The couple, who affectionately call each other ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ met at the local bowls club and married in 1998.

Phyllis only turned 87 last week and they laugh at the reference that Norm is a cradle-snatcher.

Their marriage brought together two families that currently add up to more than 70 descendants, including 5 great-great-grandchildren.

Norm marvels at the evolution of technology in his life time, describing his reaction when aeroplanes first took to the skies.

“The most amazing thing was to see an aeroplane fly over,” he said.

“We would stop what we were doing and chase it .”

Computers are a mystery to him.

“I wouldn’t know how to turn one on,” he said.

“I am content to get Mum to ask Mr Google about anything.”

In earlier days, trips to Sydney to sell his beans at the markets took over a week on dirty, dusty roads in an old truck.

“When he handed his licence in at 99, he was upset that he wouldn’t be able to drive on the new bypass,” said Phyllis.

“I have since taken him on it.”

Television came later in Norm’s life than for most people living today, but he now has a 65 inch flat screen in his loungeroom, so he can see the ball and the seam when he is watching the cricket.

Phyllis and Norm giggle and cuddle as we set up for a photo and there is no doubt, the Northern Rivers Times will be back next year to celebrate Norm’s 106th birthday as he feels blessed with his long life.

And his secret to his many years on the planet?

“Hard bloody work.”

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Clarence Valley News

Second death in custody at new jail




Clarence Correctional Centre

Second death in custody at new jail

By Tim Howard

A 29-year-old inmate has died at Clarence Correctional Centre on June, the second man to die in custody at the jail in the past six weeks.
The man, identified as Dictor Mayen Dongrin, was due to front Coffs Harbour Local Court the following day on two charges of common assault, one of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and two of stalking and intimidation. 
A spokesperson for the jail operator Serco said Mr Dongrin was found unresponsive in a medical holding room by staff around 1.30pm and was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after.
Serco, Corrective Services NSW and NSW Police were investigating the incident.
All deaths in custody are subject to a coronial inquest.
Mr Dongrin was also involved in a apprehended domestic violence hearing with another family member
The court has ceased all proceedings involving Mr Dongrin because of his death.
The spokesperson said Serco extends its condolences to the family and friends of the man.

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Coffs Harbour News







The Big Bonanza festival, to be held for the first time on the Coffs Coast in November, will now be even bigger thanks to $200,000 in funding from the NSW Government.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said he is pleased the Festival organiser, Gig Big, has received this significant support from the Regional Events Acceleration Fund.


Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh, The Big Bonanza festival director Ben Lewis and Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Paul Amos at today’s announcement at CHEC playing fields.

“The Big Bonanza is a two-day music, comedy and food festival to be held at Coffs Harbour Education Campus playing fields on 4 and 5 November,” Mr Singh said.

“The funding will help with the staging of this live entertainment extravaganza – in particular securing the headline music and comedy artists including Wolfmother, You Am I, Dave Hughes and Judith Lucy, and for temporary event infrastructure which will improve accessibility and inclusion for people with disability.

“The Big Bonanza is anticipated to be a major drawcard for Coffs Coast locals and visitors, which will help to boost our local economy.”

Mr Singh said the Regional Events Acceleration Fund is supporting the growth of existing regional events and attracting new major domestic and international events.

Coffs Harbour City Council Mayor Councillor Paul Amos said: “Not only does Coffs have the Big Banana, but now we have The Big Bonanza coming to our world-class CHEC in November this year. This is yet another flagship event for the Coffs Coast and another feather in our cap adding more colour to the year-round events calendar.

“We know how to stage big events and our community knows how to have a great time, bring on The Big Bonanza,” Cr Amos said.

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Northern Rivers Local News

Oasis Park Development Halted




Oasis Park plan

Oasis Park Development Halted


Story by Lara Leahy


Plans were submitted for an extreme sports facility to be built at Carool to go with an existing DA for health retreat style accommodation.  Last week, Tweed Shire Council voted to refuse the Development Application for the park.


The initial DA for 35 cabins, and 5 rooms, also include a 4-bedroom site management house and attached granny flat has not yet been issued with a construction certificate.  The latest DA is for indoor and outdoor facilities for sports including motocross, mountain biking, skateboarding as well as gym and trampolining facilities spread over 18,902m2. Between the proposals, there was confusion as per the use of the facilities and how much would service the patrons vs public use.


There are 11 reasons council gave to turn the new development down.  Included in which is incomplete information on stormwater management, bushfire risk research as well as risk to potential existing indigenous heritage.  Inadequate infrastructure, such as sewerage, electricity, and car parking were also cited as concerns.


Issues regarding noise and light that would see up to 60 patrons visiting a day and up to 200 over 4 annual events were not addressed by the submission.  It was unclear how much of the clientele was to be from public use as opposed to visiting patrons.


A large concern was raised in regarding its visual amenity, with two large block sheds at the peak of the development, breaking up the sight lines of the surrounding hills.  The large amount of concrete, asphalt and exposed earthworks were also not considered to be in keeping with the “picturesque hills of Carool.”


One of the two sheds were over the height limit stipulated by council, causing interest for the airspace above the shed.  “The application was referred to the Gold Coast Airport Authority as the site has a ground level above the relevant Obstacle Limitation Surface Contour and therefore the development would breach this plane. The Gold Coast Airport Authority advised a full assessment would be required.”


Other incomplete information included traffic studies as well as flora and fauna impact contributing to the hesitancy to provide support for the development. Public concern was also considered when 18 of the 21 public responses received in regard to the development found to have objections to the proposal.


Two options were presented to council, to refuse the DA or to present them with an opportunity to provide further information.  Due to inconsistencies and inadequacies with the assessment of the works, council officers recommended the first option and refused the DA.  It was found that the “development proposal is not consistent with the Aims of Tweed Local Environmental Plan 2014 to promote the responsible sustainable management and conservation of Tweed’s natural and environmentally sensitive areas and waterways, visual amenity and scenic routes, built environment, and cultural heritage.”


The DA report and associated documentation is available on the Tweed Shire Council website.



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