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Grafton News

Historical society plans display of Royal memorabilia

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Historical society plans display of Royal memorabilia

By Tim Howard

 The Clarence River Historical Society has begun to assemble a special display of its royal artefacts for a special display to honour Queen Elizabeth II following her death on Thursday.

Society president Steve Tranter said the society’s collection at Schaffer House had a standing exhibit of memorabilia associated with the Queen and her family from events such as her coronation, royal visits, weddings and births.

But he said the society’s newspaper and magazine archives contained much more information on the Queen, who visited the region twice in her 70-year reign.

The first of those was in 1954, just a year after her coronation, when the Queen and Prince Phillip, completed a Royal World Tour she began as a princess in 1952.

In Kenya and en route to Australia when the news of her father, King George VI’s death arrived, she finally arrived in Australian February 3, 1954 with more than 1 million of Sydney’s 1.8 million population on the harbour foreshores to greet her.

Her welcome on the North Coast less than a week later was no less enthusiastic, though far less populous.

Unfortunately for the them the Queen was not the only visitor to the region as a large cyclone was heading south as she was heading north to Lismore and Casino, where the Royal visit was to be staged.

These days a trip up the Summerland Way to Casino and Lismore is an hour to 90 minutes in the car.

In 1954 it was a day-long adventure involving ferry crossings and traversing roads not yet up to goat track standard.

Historical society member Hazel Ford penned a story of what it was like in a society newsletter that came out for the celebrations of the Queen’s 60th year on the throne.

She recalled the newspaper headline of the time, Torrential welcome for Queen as 50,000 drenched people from every corner of northern NSW tried to get a glimpse of their new sovereign.

The Queen and her prince had their own troubles.

Originally scheduled to land at Casino, the rain forced a change of destination to the all weather landing strip at Evans Head.

After staying overnight at Lismore’s Gollan Hotel and attending a short ceremony in the city, the Queen’s party left for Casino.

Ms Ford said when the Queen’s motorcade left Lismore for Casino, hundreds of cars, motor bikes and even bicycles followed.

Those people began their journey in pouring rain and by the time they returned conditions had worsened.

“Cruel, pelting rain meant nightmare experiences for most of the hundreds who were compelled to journey by bus and car,” she quoted from contemporary reports.

“The vehicles which entered the Grafton-Casino gravel road swept on to a deeply churned mud and slippery surface on which cars skidded from side to side and bound in heart-jerking leaps.”

Travelling back along the Pacific Highway, well before the construction of the Harwood Bridge, created one of the biggest hold ups in history at the Harwood Ferry.

“At 8.30 on Wednesday night cars banked up for five miles at this crossing, an estimated 1000 vehicles, with the ferry running non-stop and shifting about 70 cars an hour,” Ms Ford wrote.

Dignitaries, like the Bishop of Grafton Rt Rev C E Storrs and Mrs Storrs and the Mayor of Grafton John Moorhead and his wife were just as drenched when they were presented to the Queen as the tens of thousands of onlookers.

But it seems from the comments people were overjoyed to catch just a glimpse of the new Queen.

“I think the Queen is beautiful. She is charming and dainty and the Duke handsome,” a Mrs W Thompson of South Grafton put down for posterity.

Ms Ford said you could tell how popular the Queen’s visit had been from the cars parked outside workplaces the next day.

Almost all were covered in mud from their travels and most people had gone straight to work from the Harwood Ferry crossing.

Mr Tranter said accounts such as Ms Ford’s revealed the depth of the feeling local people had for the Royals.

He expected these feeling would be on display during the 10-day mourning period for the Queen ahead of her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

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Entertainment

Free healthy lifestyle program for families in Tweed, Coraki and Grafton

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Go4Fun Free healthy lifestyle program for families in Tweed, Coraki and Grafton

Free healthy lifestyle program for families in Tweed, Coraki and Grafton

 

Families in NSW can access support to build healthy habits together, plus tips and assistance with getting active, healthy eating and wellbeing.

Go4Fun is a free 10-week after school program for children aged 7-13 and their families, which aims to support their health and wellbeing.

Parents and carers can now enrol their primary school aged children in the Term 2 programs in Tweed, Grafton and Coraki.

Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWLHD) Acting Director of Integrated Care and Allied Health Services, Kathryn Watson said the program is for kids and their families who want to get healthier together.

“For many families, the focus is on just getting by on a day-to-day basis, and many don’t have the money to invest in healthy lifestyle programs,” Ms Watson said.

“We know many parents can be overwhelmed by the amount of healthy lifestyle information available. Go4Fun helps by providing easy tips to make healthy changes and involves parents, carers and children in activities to help put these into practice.

“This free program allows families to have the chance to learn healthy habits, and have fun together.”

The program includes games, activities, prizes and a supermarket tour. It also helps families and children to connect with others in their local area.

“Families love that the program is free and that it helps their child’s wellbeing, including their sleep. It creates a space to connect and build relationships as a family,” Ms Watson said.

“For families who are not in the Tweed, Grafton or Coraki areas, the Go4Fun online program is always an option.”

Parents and carers can sign up to the program directly, and health professionals and GPs can also refer their patients.

Places are available for Term 2 in the following locations:

  • CORAKI
    Aboriginal Go4Fun
    Tuesdays 4pm-6pm, starting 30 April
    Location: Coraki Youth Hall, 75 Bridge St, Coraki NSW 2471
    To register for the Coraki program, call Coraki Campbell HealthOne on (02) 6683 9000
  • GRAFTON
    Go4Fun
    Tuesdays 4pm-6pm, starting 30 April
    Location: PCYC, 300 Powell Street, Grafton NSW 2460
  • TWEED
    Go4Fun
    Wednesdays 4pm-6pm, starting 1 May
    Location: Banora Point Community Centre, Cnr Leisure Dr, Woodlands Dr, Banora Point NSW 2486

For more information and to register your child, call 1800 780 900, visit here.

 

For more entertainment news, click here.

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Grafton News

Big River Group Completes $22 Million Upgrade to Grafton Timber Factory

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John Lorente, CEO of Big River Group

Big River Group Completes $22 Million Upgrade to Grafton Timber Factory

 

Big River Group, a renowned figure in the diversified manufacturing and distribution of timber and building products, proudly announces the completion of a significant upgrade to its Grafton timber factory. This $22 million project, bolstered by support from the Australian and New South Wales (NSW) Governments under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, marks a significant stride in the sustainable manufacturing of specialty technical timber products, thereby enhancing supply to the construction industry across NSW.

With roots dating back over a century in Grafton, Big River Group has traversed through three generations of the Pidcock family’s ownership before transitioning into a public entity listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX:BRI) in May 2017. This transition symbolises a century-long dedication and expansion within the region, now spanning operations across 26 sites in Australia and New Zealand.

The official opening of the Grafton operation today underscores the pivotal role of regional development and sustainable practices within the industry. It underscores the government’s steadfast commitment to bolstering industries crucial for recovery and growth in areas affected by bushfires, while promoting advancements in sustainable timber manufacturing and supply.

The upgrade, featuring the installation of state-of-the-art machinery, is poised to significantly augment Big River’s output. This enhancement equips Big River to supply an unprecedented volume of timber products throughout NSW each year, fostering growth in local and regional economies.

John Lorente, CEO of Big River Group, expresses his enthusiasm for the project’s culmination, stating, “This upgrade signifies not merely an expansion of our operational capacity, but a commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the future of the timber industry in NSW. With the backing of the Forestry Recovery Development Fund Program, we are positioned to make a profound impact on the availability of high-quality timber products, while also securing and creating jobs locally, regionally, and nationally.”

The upgrade is expected to generate 20 new jobs in Grafton, supplementing Big River’s existing local workforce and its 610 employees nationwide. This development underscores Big River’s enduring commitment to nurturing local talent through trainee and apprenticeship programs, and bolstering local businesses financially through logistics, warehousing, engineering supplies, and contracting services.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, emphasises the government’s role in facilitating these critical developments, noting, “Big River Group’s Wagga Wagga plantation bore the brunt of the Black Summer Bushfires, but with substantial investment from both levels of Government, new machinery and equipment have been installed in the factory in Grafton, delivering a significant boost to the local community.”

Minister for Regional NSW, Tara Moriarty, echoes this sentiment, highlighting the project’s significance for local and regional communities. “Big River Group’s Grafton timber factory is experiencing robust growth, and it’s gratifying to see these upgrades support them in delivering high-quality timber products to the construction industry for years to come.”

Beyond supplying essential building products for the construction industry, Big River’s operations offer an array of decorative and architectural products, many of which are proudly manufactured in Grafton. This fusion of functionality and aesthetics, supported by a century-long legacy and a forward-looking ethos, positions Big River as a cornerstone in sustaining the architectural integrity and development of NSW, Australia, and New Zealand.

“As we unveil the latest upgrade to our Grafton facility, we perpetuate a tradition of excellence established over 100 years ago,” asserts John Lorente. “This project epitomizes more than just an expansion; it’s a tangible manifestation of our dedication to innovation, sustainability, and investment in the growth of our workforce. By augmenting our capacity to supply high-value timber products and investing in our team’s development, we uphold our century-long legacy and reinforce our commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for the timber industry in Australia.”

“We are immensely grateful for the support extended by both the Australian and NSW State Governments through the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund,” John From Big River Group concludes, expressing profound gratitude for the government’s invaluable support.

 

For more local Grafton news, click here.

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Grafton News

Westlawn Finance lending a hand to Our Kids in Grafton

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Westlawn Finance lending a hand to Our Kids in Grafton

Westlawn Finance lending a hand to Our Kids in Grafton

 

The Westlawn Finance and Insurance Charity Golf Day, held recently in Grafton, has raised $18,000 to help purchase a Telehealth Enable Cart and a portable Nitrous Oxide Machine for the Children’s Ward at Grafton Base Hospital.

Telehealth Enable Carts give doctors and nurses a fully mobile, ultra-high quality and secure telehealth solution that can be wheeled to any bed in the children’s ward, nursery or emergency department.

A Portable Nitrous Oxide Machine assists with light sedation when a medical procedure is required for our paediatric patients.

Our Kids is a self-funded trust whose auspice is the Northern NSW Local Health District. Our Kids aims to improve the health services for children in the Northern Rivers area.

Our Kids raises awareness and vital funds through local events and donations. With the funds raised, Our Kids works with the local medical team to purchase lifesaving medical equipment for children receiving care in hospitals in the Northern Rivers. This can include the Children’s Wards, Special Care Nursery and emergency departments in local hospitals.

Westlawn Finance lending a hand to Our Kids in Grafton

Dr Andrew Terrey, Geoff Scofield, Amanda Fryer and Mark Dougherty

Our Kids also issues annual Community Grants for families or organisations caring for children with special needs. These grants can be used to purchase equipment, medicine, and therapeutic items to help the children in their care.

Thanks to the generosity of local bequests, Our Kids has been able to set up educational funds for Continuous Education Scholarships for midwives, paediatric nurses, and allied health staff who work in our local hospitals.

“Thank you to Geoff Schofield, Mark Dougherty and the Westlawn Finance and Insurance team for organising such a magnificent day for Grafton and Our Kids,” Rebekka Battista, Our Kids Fundraising Coordinator, said.

“The telehealth enable cart and portable nitrous oxide machine will be a great addition to Grafton Base Hospital.”

If you would like to help Grafton Base Hospital, Children’s Ward and Special Care Nursery, please get in touch with Our Kids on info@ourkids.org.au.

 

For more health news, click here.

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