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Casino NSW News

Rail Trail opens at Casino

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Rail Trail Casino

Rail Trail opens at Casino

 

By Samantha Elley

There were plenty of wheels and lycra at the beginning of the new section of Rail Trail at Casino on the weekend.

With the opening of the trail, bicycle riders of all ages gathered to mark this special day.

Even man’s best friend was accommodated on gophers and in bicycle baskets to enjoy the stretch of  trail to Bentley.

Rail Trail Casino

Mayor of Richmond Valley, Robert Mustow, greeted those gathered and the official ribbon was cut.

“Take time to stop and enjoy the panoramic views,” Cr Mustow said to the gathered crowd as he talked about travelling on the trail, especially at the notorious Gap, a steep section of the trail.

“To the south Casino township, south west Hogarth Range and Mallanganee Range, to the north, Back Creek and Bungabee State Forest, north west Bentley and on to Boorabee.

“Today we have excited women, Mrs Keneally and Mrs Digby who are going for a ride.

“Both are 96 years old.”

Rail Trail Casino

Both ladies were the first to cross the ribbon once cut and set the rest of the riders and walkers on their way.

Sally Gooley of Casino had brought her children, with ages ranging from 6 years down to one year old to ride the trail.

“We all live out here and we’ve been watching it being built for the last however long and they are very excited seeing the diggers and I think they are excited to finally be able to ride (the trail),” she said.

When completed, the 132km trail will connect Casino and Bentley, through to Lismore and Eltham, the Byron Shire and then on to the Tweed Valley, finishing at Murwillumbah.

 

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Casino NSW News

DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

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Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

 

By Helen Trustum

When talking with Dick and Leila on the 6th February 2024 I realised that my initial intention of researching a story from Leila’s early days also required a story that unfolded about her husband Dick.

Richard William George (known as Dick) was born on 22nd February 1932 to parents Stan and Mary Beattie at Stockton. Dick’s Grandfather, Edward Beattie was a boat builder and even in his 80’s still worked building boats, including fishing vessels and ferries. His Great Uncle Gordon Beattie was one of the men that built the passenger ferry that ran between Yamba and Iluka. Dick’s father Stan was a boiler maker with BHP.

Dick went to Primary school at Stockton then on to New Castle Boys High School.  He later studied at the University of New England in Armidale before completing his Honours Degree at the University of Sydney.

Family of Stan and Mary’s:  Dick and Gloria.

Leila with her calf - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Leila with her calf

Leila was born Leila Madge Roberts in Casino on 10th September 1931 to parents Donald and Madge Roberts who were living on “Manifold Farm”, Bentley.

Family of Donald and Madge Roberts: Eileen, Leila and Nelda. The family lost little Nelda with whooping cough at the age of two and half years.

Donald was born at Cowra NSW and at the age of 14 years moved with his parents to Dunoon. They later relocated to Mongogarie from where Don enlisted in World War 1 in December 1915. He arrived at the Military Camp in Tell EL Kebir, Egypt in May 1916. After training in England, Don was transferred to France where he performed 10 days of training in the infamous “Bull Ring”, training camp on the dunes between Etaples and Camiers, near Boulogne, before joining the 31st Battalion at Armentieres.

Shortly after joining the 31st Battalion, Don was attached to the transport section, where his reputation as an excellent horseman had become known. The 31st transport section contained a number of top horsemen. Alongside Don was Gus Hosking, also from Mongogarie. They were both reputed to be the best. Don and Gus were sent to Abbeville, where the commandant of the riding school, became so impressed that he gave them the honour of leading the column of artillery on parades.

Don and Madge Roberts - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Don and Madge Roberts

Don served with distinction in the unit and was made sergeant shortly after joining it. The work of getting supplies through to the front line, units was difficult and dangerous, most of the hauling being done at night. Don was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Belgium).

Returning from the War, Don married Madge Collison and worked at the Coombell Brick Works before settling on Lot 12 on the Runnymede Soldiers Settlement, calling the property “Manifold Farm”. This settlement came about when the owner of Runnymede Station, James Chester Manifold, gave three thousand acres of rich scrub land on the eastern side of the station, to be developed into twenty dairy farms. The farms were to be made available, by ballot, to ex – servicemen from Tomki Shire (now part of Richmond Valley Shire) and Kyogle Shire. James Chester died in 1918. His son Thomas Chester Manifold inherited Runnymede and keenly supported the scheme. These twenty farms with applicants were required to pay three hundred and twenty – one pounds ($640) for the improvements on the farms. They received a Life Estate Title. Now in 2024 there are five families from the original residents still on their block of ground.

Don also enlisted in the army in World War 11 and was in camp at Goonoo Goonoo Station, near Tamworth. After a while he left the army and returned to Bentley where he organized the local V.D.C.  (Volunteer Defence Corps). Since there was a shortage of rifles they drilled with wooden rifles until they were properly equipped. Later a firing range was established on the property at Bentley. While in the V.D.C Don was promoted to the rank of Captain.

House at Bentley

House at Bentley

Don was one of the many farmers in the district who had Italian P.O.W.’s working on the property towards the end of the War.  He also served as bushfire brigade captain and was involved with the Bentley Hall Committee. Madge supported her husband in his community involvement and took over running the farm while he was away.

In 1929 a school was built on land donated by Charlie Beck, from the Manifold Settlement. The school was called Manifold Public School and is still operating today. Both Eileen and Leila went to school at Manifold. Leila remembers attending school and talks readily about it. On her first day at school Leila arrived with a bunch of flowers for the teacher Mr Charlie Steele. The flowers were from her mother’s garden. Madge excelled in nurturing floral beauty.

Leila rode a horse to school called “Creamy”. The older boys would catch “Creamy” and saddle her and have her ready for Leila to ride home. Leila competed in athletics and interschool sports day. Hockey was played on Becks flat. Hockey sticks could not be purchased so the children had to scout around and find a lantana stick with a bend at one end. A tin can was used as a ball.

Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Manifold Farm at Bentley

Leila remembers Mr Steele taking the children up towards Boundary Creek into the forest to cut lawyer cane (Calamus Australis). The fibre was used at school, teaching the children weaving baskets. There were over 50 children that attended the school at one time: – All in one room – 1st to 6th class. Long desks and seating stools were used. Children from the families that Leila remembers at the time she attended were Owen Casey, Bob Knapp, Bill Moore, Jack Doman and family names Armstrong, Bulmer, Ball, Doman, Knapp, Hartley, Moroney and Childs. Mrs Steele, wife of teacher Charlie, taught the girls sewing in the weather shed once a week.

Leila has many memories of those days when on Sundays, tennis would be played over on the Moroney family’s property and meeting up with her friends the Moroney girls, Joyce and Clare. Cricket would also be played with a picnic lunch. Leila loved the dances held in the Bentley Hall where Hillary and Leila Doohan from Back Creek would be the musicians playing.

To be Continued

 

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Casino NSW News

Casino RSM Club expands its horizon

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Casino RSM Club

Casino RSM Club expands its horizon

 

THE Casino RSM Club is venturing into new business endeavours through the refurbishment of the Royal Hotel, the purchase the Clydesdale Motel and Steakbarn, and acquiring the former Sil Gava site on Walker Street.

The expansion plans were shared with Club members at a recently-held forum, which also provide attendees an opportunity to raise issues and hear from the Board.

Board President Brad Birney said over the past year the Club had undergone significant changes, however, the Board remained steadfast in its confidence regarding the direction the Club was now heading.

Mr Birney said with new CEO John Walker leading the helm, supported by a capable management team, the Club was poised to not only expand its core operations, but also diversify its offerings.

He said in light of tightening regulations surrounding gambling, it was imperative the Board and management looked ahead to secure additional revenue streams.

“This foresight ensures the Club’s ability to uphold its commitment to providing exceptional services to the community and supporting vital local organisations,” Mr Birney said.

“For more than 70 years, our Club has proudly contributed monetary support to various local sports, charities, and community groups – a testament to our dedication.

Mr Walker said the Casino RSM Club’s foray into new business ventures aimed at further enriching the local economy and providing enhanced services to members and the broader community.

He said in an era marked by innovation and adaptability, the Club’s Board and management team recognised the importance of diversification and sustainability.

“With this vision in mind, the Club has embarked on a journey to explore and develop new business opportunities which align with its core values and commitment to excellence,” Mr Walker said.

“Our goal is to not only enrich the lives of our members but also contribute positively to the broader community.

“These new ventures represent an exciting chapter in our journey, and we are committed to upholding the same standards of excellence and dedication which have defined the Casino RSM Club for decades.”

The detailed plans include:

  • The $3.5 million ground floor refurbishment of the Royal Hotel building, including the addition of a cafeteria, sports bar, corner bar, gaming room and enhancements to the beer garden and motel rooms, will offer a modern and inviting atmosphere with something for everyone.
  • Around $1 million worth of renovations are planned for the RSM Club premises. Recognising some areas are showing signs of wear, the Board and management team understand the importance of maintaining a top-notch environment.
  • The Board and management team are committed to supporting the Casino RSM Bowling Club by expanding the undercover bowling greens. At a minimum it will be a half green, but could evolve to a full rink following an evaluation. By enhancing capacity, the Club aims to attract larger bowling events, welcome new members, and explore opportunities to host diverse functions and events.
  • The successfully acquisition of the former Sil Gava site on Walker Street marks another strategic investment within the Casino CBD, strategically located near the Club’s land holdings. Anticipating substantial population growth in Casino over the next decade, the acquisition of commercial land becomes paramount for the community.
  • The purchase of the Clydesdale Motel and Steakhouse presents another exciting opportunity for the Club. This acquisition not only furthers efforts to diversify beyond gaming but also opens new avenues in regards of functions, events, and accommodation. The Board and management team believe this venture complements the Club’s existing business model and offers prospects for expansion, given the site’s existing development approval for additional accommodations.

Mr Birney said the Board understood its responsibility to make decisions which benefited all members and ensured the Club’s long-term sustainability.

He said the Board, alongside the management team, remained steadfast in support of local sporting organisations.

“We firmly believe sports are an integral part of the Richmond Valley identity, offering significant social and community advantages,” Mr Birney said.

“We recently agreed to continue our major sponsorship of the Casino RSM Cougars and the Casino RSM Bulls, and have remained committed to the Casino RSM Cobras and Casino RSM Cavaliers.

“We will look to continue our investment into community beyond sport however, and the Board has identified an investment into the Valley’s youth as a priority.

“How this looks we do not know, but will be sure to keep our members and the Richmond Valley community informed of any developments.

“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each member for their unwavering support. With membership approaching the 10,000 mark, we are excited about the future and remain committed to placing all our members at the forefront of every decision.”

 

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Casino NSW News

Max and Marie Maher – North Casino – Part 2

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Max and Marie's wedding day - Max and Marie Maher

Max and Marie Maher – North Casino – Part 2

 

By Helen Trustum

(Continued from part 1) On 4th April 1964 Max married Marie Scheibel from Jiggi. Marie’s parents were Jim and Josie Scheibel. They were married in the Catholic Church in North Lismore (opp timber yard). Their family; Joanne, Darren, Jamie and Donna. The family first lived at 20 Tweed Street, North Lismore until 1971 before moving to Clifford Street, Goonellabah.

In 1967 Max and Marie started their own business calling it “Mahers Car Sales”. This business was at the BP Service Station on the corner of Woodlark and Dawson Street. They were there for 3 years, from September 1967 to September 1970.

Mahers Car Sales - Lismore - Max and Marie Maher

Mahers Car Sales – Lismore

From Woodlark Street to Ballina Street near the Ballina Street Bridge (a little Volkswagen still on the roof) they built a second car yard on the corner of Molesworth Street and Ballina Street. Max owned a 1964 EH Holden called “Any Plum”. With this car he went drag racing at Surfers Paradise. He competed at 24 meetings, winning 21 of them.

In 1969 Max started racing cars at the speedway on Lismore Showground.  President of the North Coast National Spencer Spinaze felt the Lismore Showground had to be used more than the Annual Show. Midway through 1969 Spencer was approached by Neil Mansell and Dutton Stibbard to see if the North Coast National might be interested in starting speedway on the grounds. They were already running speedway in Kingaroy and Toowoomba. After a hurried show meeting Tom Somerville, Murray McKinnon, Ken Somerville and Spencer Spinaze joined Max, Charlie Austen, Richard Rugendyke and Neil Priestly and travelled to Kingaroy for the next race meeting. They were convinced this was the answer for the Society to achieve extra funds. A special fence had to be erected to comply with Police safety regulations. The fence was built by voluntary labour from the show society members and Lismore Car Club members. The speedway is still going and has raised considerable money over the years for charity.

Red Comodore for speedway - Max and Marie Maher

Red Comodore for speedway

Speedway was Max’s way of life from then on. Within 2 years there were over 200 cars competing. A regular tradition of a barbeque following the speedway was always welcome at the Maher Family Home in Tweed Street. Then in later years the barbeque was held under the Members Grandstand at the showground. Remembered is Max’s four door Monaro, after a couple of seasons attending speedways and how spectacular it was. The car had a massive amount of power and torque where it would lift the inside front wheel at least a foot off the ground under power for almost a lap of the showground.

During the 1970’s Max remembers the Americans that would come out to Australia and compete against one another. There were four Americans against four Australians. Max was selected on many occasions to compete against them. Driving his Holden 350 Monaro at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground in 1976 against these men in the 6 events, Max won 5 of them. A great feat and one where he will always remember. These events were also run on the Lismore Showground. Max gave speedway away in 1980 and made a return to racing for a couple of meetings in 1987.

Max and Marie's Family - Max and Marie Maher

Max and Marie’s Family

In 2009 a reunion was held at the Italo Club, North Lismore Lismore where 200 people turned up for the reunion dinner. People including George Jetson, Geoff Limbert, John Leslight, Gerry Flood and of course Max. A great night was had by all.

Lismore Speedway has produced some of the top drivers in Australia. They are Grenville Anderson, Bob Worling, Stuart Herne, Paul O’Neill, Steve Robinson, Robert Armstrong and Neville Pezzutti. These men raced in the 1970’s.

After retiring from speedway, the family purchased a ski boat upon which many wonderful weekends were held. All the family learnt to ski spending time at Bungawalbyn and Swan Bay where all the training was held. The entire family all learnt to barefoot ski, including Max who was in his 40’s when he learnt the art of skiing.

Max singing at Kyogle Country Music day.

Max singing at Kyogle Country Music day.

Not to be sitting idle Max decided to give flying a go. In the 1980’s he obtained his flying licence and purchased a plane. One particular time, along with Marie, her parents Jim and Josie Scheibel, their son Darren and Greg Goulding flew right around the coast of Australia. The trip taking them six weeks, site seeing on the way. Max has flown through the centre of Australia and seeing Ayres Rock/Uluru landing at the airport. There were times when he would fly to Canberra just for the day when there was boat racing on. Achieving his pilots licence for plane travel did not come easy for Max, as his school days were very sparce specially High School.

In 2001 Max and Marie purchased 2 acres in Sherwood Park, North Casino. It is here in Hereford Drive that they have retired in 2013. For a short time, Max worked for Keyside Motors in Ballina travelling from North Casino down to Ballina.

Max and Marie Maher

Max and Marie Maher

Since Max and Marie have retired, they have travelled to a lot of Country Music Festivals and enjoying this part of their lives. Max has taken up singing again at these festivals which he rather enjoys. It was at the Ulmarra Country Music Festival that his good friend Ray Essery encouraged him to get up on stage. A long way from the family farm at Goolmangar, where it was an aspiration and now fully realizing his dream.

Now with 4 children, 10 Grandchildren and 11 Great Grandchildren, what more would you want in life.

Max with Jayden, Darren and Trent. With first names Spencer

Max with Jayden, Darren and Trent. With first names Spencer

Ref: Max and Marie Maher, North Casino – 22/1/2024

 

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