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Kyogle News

Kyogle Giant Pumpking and Watermelon Festival



Kyogle Giant Pumpking and Watermelon Festival

Kyogle Giant Pumpking and Watermelon Festival

by Lara Leahy

Summer is the time of year when the fruits of our labours are realised, and nowhere in the southern hemisphere will the competition be fiercer than at Kyogle on Saturday, January 15th. Last year a grower from Knockrow, Dale Oliver, grew a whopping 867kg Pumpkin that has the record for the heaviest pumpkin grown in the southern hemisphere.

Three months later, a pumpkin weighed in at South Africa at 867.5kg that has taken the record, so Australia is looking to reclaim its title. Dale Oliver will be back, amongst other local growers. These large species of pumpkin need a lot of water and heat to grow to their phenomenal size, and the rain we have had should help. These veggies are so large that they are grown on pallets to make them easier to transport!

The Summerland Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon Festival is growing every year and this year there are new additions to their wide range of events planned to celebrate and entertain people, and it isn’t too late to get involved in many of the competitions.

The “On the Vine” theme extends the range of veggies to compete with to Tomatoes, Watermelon, Zucchini, Cucumber and Sweet Potato. If you have anything growing in your garden that is extra heavy or extra-long, bring it along and enter the home gardener competition. Searls have generously donated a range of products as prizes.

There is a watermelon eating competition, cooking competitions and pumpkin and watermelon sculpting events. Entry for all competitions on the day is done on the Memorial Hall side of Stratheden Street – look out for the people that can take your entry.

There is also a Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin competition starting from January 10th at Harley and Co. (CRT), with a cash prize of $300 for the closest guess. Phil Dudman will be there to award prizes, meet people and chat about gardening.

Eateries will be offering local produce, especially pumpkin and watermelon dishes that include salads, quiches, and drinks.

The entries for the art and craft competitions are on display in the old IGA shop window on the main street for viewing now, until the end of January. There are many creative entries among them.

Classic cars and hot-rods will be returning this year. A couple of clubs will be present, or you can bring your own. Please note, you need to be there before 8am to get access if you are bringing your car to show.

A first for this year, a two carriage 1961 heritage train will be taking people on trips up to the border loop. The train is coming up from Coffs Harbour where it usually resides, cared for by the Rail Motor Society. There are 6 trips on offer on the 15th, and an additional 4 trips on the 16th. Tickets are Dine and Discover friendly, and they are selling out fast. Go to and pop Kyogle into the search engine, or you can find the link on our Facebook page.

The festival is on Saturday, but the Roxy Art Gallery and cinema will be open on Sunday, also to facilitate the train travellers.

Here’s hoping you will be there when the heaviest pumpkin record is broken again!


7.30am arrival of melons and pumpkins.
8 to 9.30am Entries in Cooking Competition, Home Gardening and Sculpting Competition accepted.
8.15am – Festival Opening and Welcome to Country Robert Cullen
8.45am – Announcements and directions to Entrants and Spectators– P Keevers
9 to 10am – Kyogle Country Music Association
9.30am – Weighing of melons and pumpkins commences
9.30 to 10am – Judging of entries, cooking, home gardening and sculpting.
10.00 to 10.15am Announcements—Phil Keevers
10.15 to 11.15am Kyogle Country Music Association.
11.30 to 12.30am PRESENTATIONS
Competitions presented by J Saffin
Arts and Crafts Competitions
• Senior Art
• Junior Art
• Craft Competition
• Soft Furnishings
Cooking Competition
• Scones
• Closed Pumpkin Pie
• Best Watermelon Dish
• Best Savory Pumpkin or Watermelon Dish
• Most outstanding Entrant
Open Sculpting Competition
Open Garden Competition
• Heaviest tomato
• Heaviest Butternut Pumpkin
• Heaviest Round Watermelon
• Heaviest Sweet Potato
• Longest Zucchini
• Longest Cucumber
• Outstanding Entrant
Business Window/ Premise & Promotion of Festival
Drawing the Raffle
Major Prize Presented by Phil Dudman
Open Pumpkin over 250kg
Novice Pumpkin Less than 250kg
Guess the Weight
12 to 12.30pm Kyogle Country Music Association
12.30pm Watermelon Eating Competition—Town Square
1pm Festival close & competitors collect entries.
Train trips
9am – Glenapp return
11.21am – Namoona and return
12.23pm – Glenapp and return
2.34 pm – Namoona and return
3.36pm – Glenapp and return
5.47pm – Kyogle for Casino arriving at 6.13pm

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Kyogle News

Council builds prosperity and bridges




Bridge Building Kyogle

Council builds prosperity and bridges


Kyogle Council has been growing the prosperity of the local government area while completing a once-in-a-lifetime bridge building program, Kyogle Council Mayor Kylie Webster said today.

“As of today, Kyogle Council has replaced 89 bridges in three years, and physically built 81 new bridges,” Cr Webster said.

“That equates to almost three new bridges built every month.

“That is a truly amazing effort and one which the whole Council is incredibly proud of. It’s even more amazing when you consider that our staff have simultaneously been working to recover from the catastrophic flooding which occurred in 2022.

“I don’t know of another small rural council which could have achieved what this council has achieved.

“We are always saying that Kyogle Council punches above its weight, and this is proof of that.”

Council received $40.419 million through the State Government’s Fixing Country Bridges (FCB) Program to part-fund the replacement of 77 of the bridges (which included eight bridge to culvert projects) plus a multi-million-dollar funding package from the Australia Government to build other 12 new bridges.

Council also employed local contractors to design and construct another six bridges under the Fixing Country Bridges Program. Four of the six bridges have been completed so far.

“Council’s bridge renewal program has been incredibly successful, and it has meant that our residents and primary producers no longer have to contend with load limited bridges that impact their ability to run their farms” Cr Webster said.

“Back in 2020 before we started our bridge renewal program, Council had four bridges closed due to structural failures, 25 load limited bridges and 125 timber bridges, of which more than 70 were 70 plus years old.

“We now have just a handful of aging timber bridges to replace and our communities enjoy safer, more reliable transport routes.”

The completion of the new Suffolks bridge on Bean Creek Road this week means Council has finished 77 bridges it committed to build under Round 1 of the Fixing Country Bridges program.

However, the job’s not over yet.

Council has funding to replace another 16 bridges, including Montgomerys Bridge and the Risk Road Bridge, and when all those bridges are finished, Council will have no more aging timber bridges to replace.

“By delivering a safe, reliable bridge network, Council has provided community access and helped drive growth in the agriculture, rural industries and tourism sectors” Cr Webster said.

“We’ve helped build prosperity on the back of building bridges.”


For more Kyogle news, click here.

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Byron Bay News

14 projects share in $300,000 Community Building Partnership pool




Community Building Partnership Pool

14 projects share in $300,000 Community Building Partnership pool


STATE Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin today (Friday, 7 June) announced that 14 projects had been successful under the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership program for 2023.

Ms Saffin congratulated this round’s recipients and encouraged local organisations developing worthwhile projects to applicants to sign up for alerts about the CBP program so they are notified when information about the next round is confirmed.

“Remember that there is only $300,000 to be spread across the entire electorate each year so please be realistic with the amount of funding sought,” Ms Saffin says.

“The Premier’s Department has introduced strict probity measures around this grant program, including the overlay of independent assessment.”

Recipients of CBP funding for this 2023 round include:   

Lismore City LGA:

The Lismore Soup Kitchen Incorporated – towards improving amenities for volunteers and the hundreds of customers of The Good Pantry Lismore – new cool storage will be purchased and installed. — $33,350.

Lismore Memorial Amateur Swimming Club Incorporated – towards capacity building of competitive swimming in Lismore – $19,353.

Northern NSW Helicopter Rescue Service Limited – acquisition of night vision goggles (NVG) for its Lismore base – $18,970.

RSL LifeCare Limited – towards commissioning a local artist to install a mural as a war memorial/commemorative space at Chauvel Village Goonellabah, honouring Sir Harry Chauvel, of the Australian Lighthorse. — $5,000.

Tenterfield Shire LGA:

Tenterfield Chamber of Tourism Industry & Business Incorporated – new Tenterfield Visitors Information Centre – shopfront fitout, purchasing and installing free-standing equipment in a newly-leased building – $30,000.

Mingoola Hall Management Committee Incorporated – towards enhancing facilities at Mingoola Hall (fire exit side access to toilets to building code, installing a water tank) — $29,439.

Kyogle LGA:

Kyogle PA&H Society (Kyogle Show) – towards repairing the showground’s three arena surfaces to make them safe for competitors and exhibitors as the ground has become uneven and sloping. – $30,000.

Bonalbo and District Community Hall Association Incorporated – towards removal of ceiling tiles which pose a risk to volunteers and hall users, replacing them with new ones – $16,000.

Country Women’s Association of NSW – Tabulam Branch – towards supplying and installing a 4.5 kw grid connect solar system including panels, inverter, mounting rail and balance of system — $7,700.

The Girl Guides Association of NSW – Kyogle Girl Guide Hall kitchen upgrade (purchase stainless steel materials to replace a kitchen which was destroyed by flood – $5,500.

Tweed Shire LGA:

Uki Sporting Horse Association – towards all weather multi-purpose sand arena (to resurface arena with long-lasting road base and sand, providing a flood-free, safe, all-weather, multi-purpose facility – $30,000.

Coolangatta-Wollumbin (Mount Warning) Dragon Boat Club Incorporated – Wollumbin Transport Vehicle (purchase a vehicle for towing dragon boats to training and regattas. Current 4WD vehicle is old and near the end of its life – $29,000.

Tweed Regional Museum – towards accessible drinking water for Tweed Regional Museum (provision of two accessible drinking fountains, indoor and outdoor, for visitors to the museum – $11,175.

Byron Shire LGA hinterland:

Federal Community Children’s Centre Incorporated – outdoor blind installation and soft fall repair and extension – $34,513.

Electorate-wide total — $300,000.


For more local news, click here.

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Alstonville News

Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support




A koala being treated at the Northern Rivers Koala Hospital in Lismore

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.

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: 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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