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Glen Innes News

Glen Innes Severn Unveils Crucial Bushfire Recovery Projects with Federal Support

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Black Summer Bushfire Recovery

Glen Innes Severn Unveils Crucial Bushfire Recovery Projects with Federal Support

 

On January 25, the Glen Innes Severn community marked a significant milestone as Glen Innes Severn Council officially revealed three major projects funded through the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program. Federal representatives, including The Honourable Barnaby Joyce MP, Member for New England, joined Council Mayor Rob Banham and the community in commemorating these transformative initiatives.

The Honourable Barnaby Joyce emphasised the importance of these projects, citing their significance in supporting communities during emergencies. He acknowledged the broad spectrum of recovery and resilience projects funded by the grants, ranging from social and community well-being to initiatives supporting local employment, small businesses, and infrastructure.

Glen Innes Severn Council Mayor Rob Banham expressed gratitude for the collaborative efforts that led to the realisation of these projects, emphasising their collective achievement. He extended appreciation to the Australian Government and all contributors for their role in making these projects a reality.

Black Summer Bushfire Recovery

On January 25, the Glen Innes Severn community marked a significant milestone as Glen Innes Severn Council officially revealed three major projects funded through the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program.

  1. Youth and Sporting Precinct Upgrades and Connectivity: Upgraded Skate Park and New Sporting Precinct Shared Pathways
    • Total funding: $738,523
    • The existing skate park was redeveloped by external contractors, CONVIC, combining classic and modern elements to create a space for skaters showcasing their skills.
    • Construction of shared pathways connecting the Sports Precinct with Taylor Street, Glen Innes Public School, and St Joseph’s School is expected to commence in late January 2024.
  2. Pinkett War Memorial Hall and Reserve Resilience Upgrades
    • Total funding: $72,691
    • Project deliverables include increased critical water storage, replacement of old wooden fencing with steel for safety during emergencies, and installation of Reverse Cycle Split Systems for climate control.
  3. Rural Address Signage
    • Total funding: $592,376 (in partnership with GLENRAC)
    • The project aims to supply and install rural address signage for up to 2,700 eligible rural properties, facilitating quick location by emergency services during critical event periods. Expected completion by March 31, 2024.

These projects are integral to the ongoing recovery and resilience efforts, with a focus on community well-being, safety, and infrastructure enhancement.

 

For more Glen Innes News, click here.

Glen Innes News

A blessed 100 years for Dympna

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Dympna and family celebrating 100 years

A blessed 100 years for Dympna

 

By Samantha Elley

Late last month a very special lady celebrated 100 years on this earth and 74 of her family, friends and former students gathered to enjoy the day with her.

Dympna Agnes Sheehy (nee Ryall) was born of Irish heritage in Glen Innes in 1924 and it was where she grew up on the family sheep station. The Great War was over and Australia was experiencing a resurgence economically and socially.

For Dympna, although into her second century, has a good memory for the early years.

“(My first memory) was sitting on my father’s knee,” she said.

“It was before I could read as I remember saying ‘what’s that?’.

“I learnt to read all the capital letters and I could read before I went to school.”

In 1937 Dympna passed the Armidale Roman Catholic Diocesan Examinations with the highest marks in the whole diocese for history and geography. For this she received the Gold Medal Award.

With a bright mind and a deep faith, Dympna entered the convent to become a Sister of Mercy in 1940 after she left school.

Two years later she took her final vows and was professed as Sister Mary Gemma.

Throughout her time in the convent, Sister Mary Gemma taught at a number of different primary schools around Grafton, Macksville, Yamba and Kyogle and even in Sydney.

“I taught any subject, mainly sixth class,” she said.

“Mainly in (St Brigids) Kyogle, but I taught in St Michael’s in Sydney and South Grafton.”

The impression she made on her students has stayed strong throughout the years with some of them attending her 100 year celebrations, including a priest and a QC.

The times were changing for the education system and when the government started funding Catholic schools, the new policy required all teachers to be tertiary qualified.

Dympna (left) as a school girl

Dympna (left) as a school girl

“Dympna was unable to continue in her preferred teaching role,” said niece Gemma Duffy.

Dympna made the hard decision to leave the convent and find ways to continue her vocation in the community..

“It was difficult to enter (the convent) and it was difficult to come out,” Dympna said with emotion.

It was around this time her best friend wanted to go to Lourdes to dip in the water and Dympna went with her and her husband for three months.

Sadly, soon after their return, the friend passed away and Dympna was there to help her friend’s husband, John Sheehy through his grief.

John eventually asked Dympna to marry him and so began a new chapter in her life.

Dympna has travelled all around the world, including Egypt with an exciting cruise down the Nile, traversing America in a Winnebago, Vietnam, Italy, New Zealand, Ireland, to visit the house where her mother had lived, and even to Israel.

“I wanted to put my feet in the Jordan River,” she laughed.

Ms Duffy said the many gifts Dympna received for her birthday were very thoughtful, including a special homemade Irish whiskey concoction made with local honey.

“The message on the bottle said, ‘take a tablespoon every night and when you run out I’ll get a new prescription made up’,” Ms Duffy said.

“That was (from) her best friend’s daughter.”

Dympna also received cards from the King and Queen, Governor General, the Prime Minister and a most special blessing from Pope Francis himself.

Another thoughtful gift was a framed blackboard with the names from all her students at St Bridgid’s who wanted to wish her many happy returns.

Dympna and her father

Dympna and her father

There were memories from her students of Sister Gemma as a football coach, hitching up her skirts to show the kids how to kick a ball, being remembered as the first nun to drive a car and her willingness to always catch up with her students long after they had left primary school.

“One of her nicknames in the convent was ‘Tigger’,” said Ms Duffy

“Because she always landed on her feet.”

Dympna puts her ability to face life’s challenges in the faith she has in God.

“God’s looked after me,” she said.

Her love of life has been expressed in her love of people and her interest in sport and technology.

“Dympna loved playing golf, tennis, and croquet ” said Ms Duffy

“She is very competitive.”

When her injuries meant she could no longer play active sports, Dympna developed a love of cards and board games, especially rummicub and mahjong.

Dympna will also admit to playing hockey and basketball and those year six football games.

Dympna is well-skilled in the internet and an avid iPhone user as well as a Facebook regular.

“She still enjoys keeping in touch with her grand nieces and nephews who are now spread around the world,” said Ms Duffy.

“She always provides advice or humour, or just a smiley face when we need it.

“She loves Irish jokes and even now can recite one at the drop of a hat.”

Dympna and family celebrating 100 years

Dympna and family celebrating 100 years

Dympna also has a good set of green thumbs on her.

“She was teaching the children how to garden when she worked at the Cowper orphanage,” said Ms Duffy

“She got them all into the garden introduced them to gardening.  The abundant produce meant they rarely had to buy vegetables and the children had fun as they learned their new skills .”

After her husband’s death, Dympna moved to Ballina. She continued working in the Parish community, running a Christian meditation group, and taking a keen interest in the social justice group with special concern for refugees and the homeless.

When asked the inevitable question, of what she attributes to her longevity, Dympna has three main tips.

“Good genes, a healthy lifestyle and my faith, that would be first,” she said.

“God’s always come to my assistance.”

The tipple of Baileys Irish Cream and an episode of Home and Away each night could be added to that list as well.

An Irish joke from Dympna

Mary had died and Paddy, her husband was in the pub with Mick, his friend.

Mick asked, ‘How are you getting on without Mary? You must be lonely.’

‘Oh no,’ Paddy said, ‘I bought meself a goat.’

Mick said, ‘A goat? What will you do about the smell?’

‘Oh, she’ll have to put up with it.’ Paddy replied.

 

For more local news, click here.

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EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR THE 2024 AUSTRALIAN CELTIC FESTIVAL – THE YEAR OF IRELAND & THE ISLE OF MAN

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Australian Celtic Festival

EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR THE 2024 AUSTRALIAN CELTIC FESTIVAL – THE YEAR OF IRELAND & THE ISLE OF MAN

 

Early bird tickets are on sale now for the annual Australian Celtic Festival taking place in Glen Innes from Thursday, 2 May to Sunday, 5 May 2024.

Those keen to get their Celt on and celebrate the festival’s Year of Ireland & The Isle of Man won’t want to miss this limited release of discounted tickets offering access to this year’s exciting action-packed program.

Entry to the festival at the Australian Standing Stones National Celtic Monument in Glen Innes includes an incredible program of events & attractions, including live music & dance performances across three stages, pipe bands & competitions, highland games & strongman events, Celtic wrestling, jousting, reenactment groups, Celtic fashion parade, Celtic dog parade & animal displays, the brand-new Celtic Kitchen marquee, the Celtic Kids marquee, Australian Standing Stones parkrun, market stalls, food trucks, and more!

The live music lineup is set to impress, with Gerry O’Connor (from Ireland), Elizabeth Davidson-Blythe & Daniel Quayle (from The Isle of Man), Australian Celtic Women, Asleep at the Reel, MunsterBucks, Murphy’s Pigs, The Gathering, Limerick & The Shamrock Dancers, Sionnach Rua’s Great Irish Songbook, The Cauldron, Ian Hayden and Friends Ceili Band, Moreton Celtic Fiddle Club, The Parsons & The Peas, Lorna and Dave, The Scotsman, Elizabeth Sutherland, Mo McMorrow, Matt Scullion, Katy Haselwood, Hester Fraser, and Tim Scanlan set to wow the crowds.

Australian Celtic Festival

Australian Celtic Festival

Festival day passes and weekend passes also include entry to the separately ticketed Fire & Feasting events to be held at the festival site on the evenings of Friday, 3 May and Saturday, 4 May from 5pm to 9pm, featuring music, dance, food trucks, and a bar.

Early bird tickets will remain on sale until 11.45pm AEDT on Thursday, 29 February 2024, if not sold out earlier. So don’t delay – Get your tickets now and start preparing to kilt up for an exciting and memorable weekend of good craic!

Tickets can be purchased here. General release tickets will go on sale at 8am on Friday, 1 March 2024. Follow Australian Celtic Festival on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.

The Australian Celtic Festival is proudly supported by Glen Innes Severn Council.

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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