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Local News

CORAKI FERRY

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Coraki Ferry

CORAKI FERRY

 

By Helen Trustum

From about the time of 1849 when a permanent settlement was established at Coraki and William Yabsley was able to obtain the lease of Brook Station and with the passing of the Robertson Land Act in 1861, many new settlers arrived.  A plan to build a “Village of Coraki” was made in 1866.  From then on, the settlement began to grow and a public ferry crossing was needed.

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A new ferry for this service was built by William Yabsley Jnr. and launched by him in August 1879. This service operated from a point in the river near the Police Station. Local Member, Mr Robert Pyers received many requests for a bridge over the South Arm.

Ferryman, Andy Arthurson during 1965 Flood

Ferryman, Andy Arthurson during 1965 Flood

In 1891 “Scrubby” Nolan obtained the lease to operate the ferry for 10 pounds, the next year it went to Patrick Gillick for 53 pounds then in later years J. Hutchinson paid 93 pounds. However, there were many complaints about the service. The early ferries had no gates or side rails. There were problems with the ferry approaches as they were steep and slippery in wet weather.

By the 1880’s both Yabsley and Yeager had established successful shipping enterprises and Coraki was a busy inland port. There was obviously a huge increase in the use of a ferry.

On 10th February 1897 it was noted in John McKinnons diary that Council decided to take over another ferry at Coraki to be established at the foot of Adam Street.

Allan Trustum and Helen Maxwell crossing the Coraki Ferry in 1965

Allan Trustum and Helen Maxwell crossing the Coraki Ferry in 1965

Public Works annual report 1898 – 1899 recorded that a new hand ferry was built at Adam Street.

During 1904 the Government announced that it would endeavour to convert all ferries to steam, but this was not accomplished in Coraki until September 1910 when a steam ferry built in Ballina went into operation.

Allan Clark with his horse crossing the Coraki Ferry

Allan Clark with his horse crossing the Coraki Ferry

Responsibility for roads, bridges and ferries was in the hands of the Department of Public Works from the late 1850’s. In 1925 the Main Roads Board assumed responsibility. This became the Department of Main Roads in 1932 and in 1989 the Roads and Traffic Authority.

Glebe Bridge over the South Arm of the Richmond River was built with the first pile driven in 1904. The bridge was always referred to as the Pyers Bridge, as Robert Pyers officially opened the South Arm Bridge on 4th May 1905 at a cost of 9,500 pounds.

Water hyacinth was always a menace in the river where a flood was the only effective way of getting rid of it.

Coraki Ferry

Coraki Ferry

The Arthurson Family deserve recognition in the Coraki Ferry story. Men from the Arthurson family have a special record, for at one stage, three brothers manned Richmond River Ferries. Jack was on Burns Point, Angus (Spark) on Woodburn and Andy on Coraki. These men had previously worked on river boats, as their father before them. “Spark” was on the small relief ferry when it sank in the February 1951 flood at Woodburn. Sadly, “Spark” himself was drowned on 20th June 1960, when his car plunged off the Coraki Ferry into the Richmond River.

A grand occasion was held for the opening of the $1.6 million bridge on 23rd May 1990. The bridge was officially opened by the Minister for National Resources Mr Ian Causley, while Coraki Councillor, Mr Ken Thomas shared cutting the ribbon. Over 5,000 people were in attendance on this special day in Coraki to witness the opening of the bridge after 92 years of ferry service.

Warren Robinson one of the last operators of the Coraki Ferry. He was part of a team of five men operating the ferry service for the last 10 years leading up to the ferry ceasing operation. Before Coraki, Warren worked at Woodburn until it was replaced by a bridge in 1982. The Coraki Ferry was shipped to Ulmarra on the Clarence, for the Ulmarra run.

Memories:

Ray Hunt: I have crossed all the ferries on the South and North Arm of the Richmond Riveras it was named. From Tuckurimba where I live, I crossed the Broadwater Ferry for 41 years. I retired in 1998 and a bridge was built the following year. Nearly call that bad luck. The ferrymen over the years were a fine bunch of men either day or night. It always paid to be good friends, or they would leave you waiting on the bank.

Men, Ray Hunt recall’s: Ollie Ryan – Coraki, Spark and Andy Arthurson- Coraki, Bill Tarplee- Coraki,  Warren Robinson- Coraki,  Jim Haynes – Woodburn, John Gallagher- Woodburn, Col Sauer- Broadwater, Jim Trellfo- Wardell.

Robert Maxwell: I remember the time when a certain resident came to the ferry on his way home from a night in Coraki. After entering the ferry, he went off to sleep and the ferry man could not wake him. This caused a problem, so he was left in the car on the ferry where he went back and forwards across the river till daylight.

Ferryman at Coraki: Courtesy of booklet “Ferry to Bridge, Crossing the Richmond River at Coraki”.

The First Ferry, William Tunstall, W. Watt, John McVicar, Nelson, Charles Sharpe. Bloom, Gillespie, “Scrubby” Nolan, Patrick Gillick, N. Manlow, J. Hutchinson, P. Roche and J. Hile.

Adam Street Ferry – Paddy Roche, Joe Nix, Jack Day, Ted Sheather, Mr Fairhall, “Dad” Roberts, Ted Coombes, Dave Williams, P. B. O’Conner, H. Louis, J. Mc Intyre, C.J. Cavanaugh, T. Andrews, Murray, C.S. Smith,

C.A Gillum, D.S. Rosman, P. Orchard, A.V. Bottrell, Max Saxon, J. Evans, Andy Arthurson, Spark Arthurson, Sandy Davis, Foggy Richards, C. Gilbert, Neil Wallace, F. Webber, H.L. Morton, W. Greber.

J. R. McFadden, A.J. Winslade, W. Tarplee, Reg Black, Lyndon Everingham, Stan Everingham, J. Nighingdale, M. Chaffy, Ollie Ryan, Jim Haynes, Colin Sauer, M. Milligan, W. Robinson, J. Gollan, A. Wilkes.

Ref: Ferry to Bridge – Crossing the Richmond River at Coraki, published by the Mid Richmond Historical Society: Northern Star.

 

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Local News

The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

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Harwood Sugar Mill Mural

The Beauty of the Sugar Industry

 

A recently completed mural at the entry to the 150-year-old Harwood Sugar Mill is stopping traffic and creating excitement in the little village with the oldest Australian owned sugar mill.

In the lead up to the 150-year celebrations, artist Nitsua, has created an artwork that reflects the blending of the cane growing and milling activities in the Northern Rivers, that exists thanks to the all-Australian partnership between the grower-owned NSW Sugar Milling Cooperative and family-owned Manildra Group.

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The artwork was commissioned by Sunshine Sugar as part of the preparations to celebrate the significant milestone of 150 years continuous manufacturing operation and Australian ownership – all on the same location on the bank of the mighty Clarence River.

As Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors commented: “Not too many businesses in Australia can say they have achieved such a significant milestone, which is why we are making the effort to celebrate and promote the resilient industry we have here in NSW.”

Sunshine Sugar and the NSW sugar industry have a line-up of community events and activities happening at Harwood (near Yamba) in August. The celebrations with culminate in a massive outdoor community event to be held at the Harwood Cricket Oval on Sunday 25th August.

Find out more at: 150th Harwood Mill Landing Page – Sunshine Sugar

 

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Kyogle News

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

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Golden Wattle

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre “Golden Wattle” to Visit Northern Rivers Region

 

Services Australia’s Mobile Service Centre, Golden Wattle, is set to visit towns in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, providing easy access to Centrelink, Medicare, National Disability Insurance Scheme, and Department of Veterans’ Affairs services.

Golden Wattle will visit:

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  • Nimbin: Wednesday, 17 July, opposite the neighbourhood centre, Cullen Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Urbenville: Thursday, 18 July, near Captain Cook Park, Urben Street (9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
  • Woodenbong: Friday, 19 July, in front of Woodenbong Hall, Unumgar Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Kyogle: Monday, 22 July and Tuesday, 23 July, in the Kyogle visitor centre car park, Summerland Way (9:00 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Bonalbo: Wednesday, 24 July, in front of Bonalbo Hall, Koreelah Street (9:30 am to 4:00 pm)
  • Tabulam: Thursday, 25 July, opposite the hotel, Court Street (9:30 am to 3:00 pm)

About Mobile Services Centres: Mobile Services Centres are 20-tonne trucks operated by Services Australia staff, providing regional and rural Australians with friendly, face-to-face service and tailored support. On this trip, staff can assist with:

  • Centrelink claims
  • Medicare registrations
  • Accessing online services

Additionally, information about the National Disability Insurance Scheme and Department of Veterans’ Affairs programs and support services will be available.

For more information, visit the Services Australia website.

 

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Lismore News

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

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Lismore MP Janelle Saffin with North-Tracks Works Chair Patrick Higgins, Secretary/board member Kevin Bell and Mr Bell’s working dog Maezzie. - Youth Crime Prevention

Saffin Secures $30,000 Grant for Youth Crime Prevention

 

Lismore MP Janelle Saffin has successfully secured a $30,000 grant for North-Tracks Works, a Lismore-based organisation dedicated to empowering vulnerable young people. This funding will enable the expansion of their life-changing programs to engage more youth in Goonellabah, Coraki, and Casino.

Ms. Saffin expressed her gratitude to NSW Minister for Police and Counter-terrorism Yasmin Catley for approving the grant following her advocacy on behalf of North-Tracks Works. She praised the organisation, which operates out of a shed in South Lismore, for its impactful work with young people aged 11 to 18, offering one-on-one support, mentoring, and practical learning opportunities.

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“I previously secured a $44,000 Local Small Commitments Allocation grant to help North-Tracks purchase equipment and materials for skill-building,” Ms. Saffin said. “This additional grant will allow North-Tracks to employ youth workers and expand their proven youth program, which is supported by Richmond Police District Commander Superintendent Scott Tanner.”

Patrick Higgins, Chair of North-Tracks Works and a local real estate agent, thanked Ms. Saffin for her efforts in securing the additional funding from Minister Catley. “We don’t fit in the box for normal funding. Our approach is about creating a sense of belonging and purpose through our skills program and training working dogs. It’s the work with the dogs that bridges the gap,” Mr. Higgins explained.

“At North-Tracks, we spend 10 percent looking back, 10 percent at where you are now, and 80 percent looking forward. We help them chase their dreams and goals,” he added. “Our team has three basic goals: keep them safe and alive, keep them out of jail, and help them move forward to live a full and productive life.”

This funding is set to sustain and expand North-Tracks Works’ impactful initiatives, providing more opportunities for at-risk youth to gain essential skills and find a sense of purpose and for Youth Crime Prevention.

 

For more local Lismore news, click here.

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