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Richmond Valley News

New information on New Italy’s pioneers

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New information on New Italy’s pioneers

By Samantha Elley

There is no ignoring the passion and emotion in the voice of Professor Pol Dalmau as he talks to an engaged audience at the New Italy Museum on the weekend.

The visiting Spanish professor from the University of Barcelona was addressing members, sharing information he had discovered about the early Italian pioneers.

“While I was working in the (Spanish) National Archives I stumbled on a large folder where the Marquis De Rey asked permission to start a colony,” he said.

“When I compared the files with the research (already known), some parts were missing.”

The story of the early settlers who established the New Italy community is often told from when they arrived at New Ireland – a Pacific island 350 miles north-east of New Guinea.

They were caught up in a scam by the French nobleman Charles du Briel, Marquis de Rey. He offered fertile land with cool, running streams, hectares to farm and a stone cottage.

What the Italians got, after paying 1800 francs in gold or labour over five years, was a tropical hell-hole with no housing and constant outbreaks of malaria. Many of the passengers died.

Australia stepped in and saved the survivors who eventually found their way to New Italy, setting up a prosperous community.

The missing information that Professor Dalmau shared had been gleaned from local papers in Barcelona where the Italian families were preparing to embark, after leaving their homes in Italy, to travel to the New Ireland colony.

“The information comes from 19th century newspapers in Barcelona, which I have translated from Spanish to English,” he said.

The reason the families were leaving from Spain, the professor shared, was because Italy and France had forbid the expedition by the Marquis de Rey.

“As soon as they arrived, several newspapers reported on the poor treatment they received,” said Professor Dalmau.

“They were called human cargo or white slaves. They were kept in warehouses in precarious conditions.”

The professor shared a letter from a fellow Italian living in Barcelona that warned his compatriots not to embark on the expedition, saying it was a deception. Words that may have rung true for them, many months later.

Another letter shared was written by three of the travellers, speaking on behalf of the Italians, claiming rumours of their treatment were false and that they were willing to make the trip.

Despite a campaign to raise funds to send the Italians back home and exert pressure on the Italian Consulate in Barcelona, only 11 families returned home.

It is believed the risk of the unknown was a better alternative than the conditions the families had left in Italy.

“This is human history,” said Professor Dalmau.

“They were looking for a better future and it is very impressive that the descendants are here today, showing eventually it was a happy ending.”

Education

Digital divide reduced with laptop giveaway

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Good360 laptop giveaway in Woodburn

Digital divide reduced with laptop giveaway

 

By Samantha Elley

Deborah Hawkins of Grafton was doing her TAFE studies the hard way, without a laptop and no chance of being able to afford one.

That all changed last week when she headed to Woodburn to receive a special gift.

One hundred refurbished laptops were packed and stacked, ready and waiting at the Woodburn Hub last week, to be distributed to those who normally couldn’t afford what has become a basic need for every household.

Thanks to the work of Good360, a charity that connects unsold consumer goods with people in need, the consortium of neighbourhood centres on the Northern Rivers and the QANTAS Regional Grant program, many people will be able to ‘go digital’ now.

“We are giving away 100 refurbished laptops, dongles and SIM cards, to provide data, “ said Liz Finlayson of Good360.

“We are a collector of goods with lots of contacts and spread the love all over Australia.”

Jamie Cooper of the Mid Richmond Neighbourhood Centre is the representative of the consortium of Northern Rivers neighbourhood centres and was pleased to be able to hand the laptops to those who needed them most.

“We cover the areas from South Grafton up to Murwillumbah,” she said.

“And we allocated people working in the Recovery Support Services, to nominate those they are working with, to receive a laptop.

“We thought that was the fairest way.”

laptop giveaway Woodburn

Deborah was thrilled with her new gift.

“It’s just like Christmas,” she said.

“It will help me with my TAFE studies in early childhood.”

Since February this year, Deborah has had to write up her essays and then head to the TAFE library and type it up using a computer there.

“Now I can do it at home,” she said.

This will make up for the two laptops she lost when her caravan was involved in an accident in Ballina during the floods.

Kerri Mann of East Coraki had only just moved into her Woodburn home two years ago when the flood hit.

“I hadn’t even slept a night there,” she said.

“If I had delayed my move by a week, I would have been ok.”

Now she has a new laptop, which will save her eyes when she is watching movies and will allow her daughter to do some beauty courses online.

Chantelle Ginger, Good360’s Head of Customer Success and Memberships said the digital divide in Australia is a problem.

“It’s a lot greater than people might understand,” she said.

“The digital need is a need, not just a want.”

 

For more Richmond Valley news, click here.

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Ballina News

NEW AND UPGRADED EQUIPMENT FOR NORTH COAST SCHOOLS

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Local MP Justine Elliot - School Upgrade Fund

NEW AND UPGRADED EQUIPMENT FOR NORTH COAST SCHOOLS

 

Local MP Justine Elliot today announced that North Coast schools are benefiting from new or upgraded facilities and equipment, thanks to funding from the Albanese Labor Government.

The projects include:

  • Ballina Coast High School – $25,000
  • Banora Point Public School – $25,000
  • Bhaktivedanta Swami Gurukula School – Eungella – $25,000
  • Biala Special School -Ballina – $25,000
  • Bilambil Public School – $25,000
  • Brunswick Heads Public School – $25,000
  • Goonengerry Public School – $25,000
  • Hinterland Christian College -Mullumbimby – $25,000
  • Mount St Patrick Primary School – Murwillumbah – $25,000
  • Pacific Coast Christian School – Tweed Heads South – $25,000
  • St Anthony’s Primary School – Kingscliff – $25,000
  • St Francis Xavier’s Primary School – Ballina – $25,000
  • St James Primary School – Banora Point – $25,000
  • St John’s Primary School – Mullumbimby – $25,000
  • St Joseph’s Primary School – South Murwillumbah – $25,000
  • St Joseph’s Primary School – Tweed Heads – $25,000
  • Stokers Siding Public School – $25,000
  • Upper Coopers Creek Public School – $25,000

This is all part of the Albanese Labor Government’s School Upgrade Fund which has delivered a total of $450,000 in local projects across the North Coast.

These projects are helping to build a better and fairer education for students in our community.

“As your strong voice in the Albanese Labor Government, I’m proud to have delivered this important funding for our local schools.

“From new laptops and air purifiers to upgraded outdoor sports equipment, this funding has delivered upgrades to schools that need it the most.

“I want all students to get access to a quality education, including access to great facilities to learn in, and play on.

“The Albanese Labor Government is delivering on its commitment to build a better and fairer education system by investing in our schools and providing safer classrooms, playgrounds, and facilities,” Justine said.

 

For more Education news, click here.

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Local News

Celebrating Women on the Mid-Richmond

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Tireless Woodburn Hub workers who made the High Tea possible

Celebrating Women on the Mid-Richmond

 

By Samantha Elley

High tea at the Woodburn Hub was a happening event last Friday morning.

As part of the celebrations of International Women’s Day, the Mid-Richmond Neighbourhood Centre invited local women to enjoy a smorgasbord of delectable treats as they honoured three of their own.

Woodburn Hub Workers

Darcy and Elaine Trustum, grandparents of Millie Trustum

“We are honouring Millie Trustum, Robyne Wood and Norma Thomas,” said co-organiser Bianca Rayner.

“We wanted to highlight different women across the generations, who have served in their communities and often taken on different battles.”

At only 12 years of age, Millie Trustum has had to fight a cancer diagnosis, but rather than just going with the flow, the young warrior has raised much needed funds to help battle the insidious disease.

Tireless Woodburn Hub workers who made the High Tea possible

Tireless Woodburn Hub workers who made the High Tea possible

Robyne Wood has worked tirelessly for her community through co-founding Richmond Valley Radio 88.9FM, providing a platform for the community to increase inclusivity and cultural awareness with shows like the Indigenous Talk Show and highlighting local members with disabilities.

Norma Thomas is a recipient of the Order of Australia medal and is a stalwart in the Coraki area having worked with the Lions Club and promoting hockey on the Northern Rivers.

A team of strong women, as part of the Woodburn Hub, supported by the Neighbourhood Centre, worked to set up the day that celebrated achievement and diversity.

 

For more Richmond Valley news, click here.

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