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Casino NSW News

DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

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Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One
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DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO – Part One

 

By Helen Trustum

When talking with Dick and Leila on the 6th February 2024 I realised that my initial intention of researching a story from Leila’s early days also required a story that unfolded about her husband Dick.

Richard William George (known as Dick) was born on 22nd February 1932 to parents Stan and Mary Beattie at Stockton. Dick’s Grandfather, Edward Beattie was a boat builder and even in his 80’s still worked building boats, including fishing vessels and ferries. His Great Uncle Gordon Beattie was one of the men that built the passenger ferry that ran between Yamba and Iluka. Dick’s father Stan was a boiler maker with BHP.

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Dick went to Primary school at Stockton then on to New Castle Boys High School.  He later studied at the University of New England in Armidale before completing his Honours Degree at the University of Sydney.

Family of Stan and Mary’s:  Dick and Gloria.

Leila with her calf - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Leila with her calf

Leila was born Leila Madge Roberts in Casino on 10th September 1931 to parents Donald and Madge Roberts who were living on “Manifold Farm”, Bentley.

Family of Donald and Madge Roberts: Eileen, Leila and Nelda. The family lost little Nelda with whooping cough at the age of two and half years.

Donald was born at Cowra NSW and at the age of 14 years moved with his parents to Dunoon. They later relocated to Mongogarie from where Don enlisted in World War 1 in December 1915. He arrived at the Military Camp in Tell EL Kebir, Egypt in May 1916. After training in England, Don was transferred to France where he performed 10 days of training in the infamous “Bull Ring”, training camp on the dunes between Etaples and Camiers, near Boulogne, before joining the 31st Battalion at Armentieres.

Shortly after joining the 31st Battalion, Don was attached to the transport section, where his reputation as an excellent horseman had become known. The 31st transport section contained a number of top horsemen. Alongside Don was Gus Hosking, also from Mongogarie. They were both reputed to be the best. Don and Gus were sent to Abbeville, where the commandant of the riding school, became so impressed that he gave them the honour of leading the column of artillery on parades.

Don and Madge Roberts - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Don and Madge Roberts

Don served with distinction in the unit and was made sergeant shortly after joining it. The work of getting supplies through to the front line, units was difficult and dangerous, most of the hauling being done at night. Don was awarded the Croix de Guerre (Belgium).

Returning from the War, Don married Madge Collison and worked at the Coombell Brick Works before settling on Lot 12 on the Runnymede Soldiers Settlement, calling the property “Manifold Farm”. This settlement came about when the owner of Runnymede Station, James Chester Manifold, gave three thousand acres of rich scrub land on the eastern side of the station, to be developed into twenty dairy farms. The farms were to be made available, by ballot, to ex – servicemen from Tomki Shire (now part of Richmond Valley Shire) and Kyogle Shire. James Chester died in 1918. His son Thomas Chester Manifold inherited Runnymede and keenly supported the scheme. These twenty farms with applicants were required to pay three hundred and twenty – one pounds ($640) for the improvements on the farms. They received a Life Estate Title. Now in 2024 there are five families from the original residents still on their block of ground.

Don also enlisted in the army in World War 11 and was in camp at Goonoo Goonoo Station, near Tamworth. After a while he left the army and returned to Bentley where he organized the local V.D.C.  (Volunteer Defence Corps). Since there was a shortage of rifles they drilled with wooden rifles until they were properly equipped. Later a firing range was established on the property at Bentley. While in the V.D.C Don was promoted to the rank of Captain.

House at Bentley

House at Bentley

Don was one of the many farmers in the district who had Italian P.O.W.’s working on the property towards the end of the War.  He also served as bushfire brigade captain and was involved with the Bentley Hall Committee. Madge supported her husband in his community involvement and took over running the farm while he was away.

In 1929 a school was built on land donated by Charlie Beck, from the Manifold Settlement. The school was called Manifold Public School and is still operating today. Both Eileen and Leila went to school at Manifold. Leila remembers attending school and talks readily about it. On her first day at school Leila arrived with a bunch of flowers for the teacher Mr Charlie Steele. The flowers were from her mother’s garden. Madge excelled in nurturing floral beauty.

Leila rode a horse to school called “Creamy”. The older boys would catch “Creamy” and saddle her and have her ready for Leila to ride home. Leila competed in athletics and interschool sports day. Hockey was played on Becks flat. Hockey sticks could not be purchased so the children had to scout around and find a lantana stick with a bend at one end. A tin can was used as a ball.

Manifold Farm at Bentley - DICK AND LEILA BEATTIE – CASINO - Part One

Manifold Farm at Bentley

Leila remembers Mr Steele taking the children up towards Boundary Creek into the forest to cut lawyer cane (Calamus Australis). The fibre was used at school, teaching the children weaving baskets. There were over 50 children that attended the school at one time: – All in one room – 1st to 6th class. Long desks and seating stools were used. Children from the families that Leila remembers at the time she attended were Owen Casey, Bob Knapp, Bill Moore, Jack Doman and family names Armstrong, Bulmer, Ball, Doman, Knapp, Hartley, Moroney and Childs. Mrs Steele, wife of teacher Charlie, taught the girls sewing in the weather shed once a week.

Leila has many memories of those days when on Sundays, tennis would be played over on the Moroney family’s property and meeting up with her friends the Moroney girls, Joyce and Clare. Cricket would also be played with a picnic lunch. Leila loved the dances held in the Bentley Hall where Hillary and Leila Doohan from Back Creek would be the musicians playing.

To be Continued

 

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Casino NSW News

Casino Showground Bookings Now Available

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Casino Showground
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Casino Showground Bookings Now Available

 

We are excited to announce that the recently revitalised Casino Showground and Racecourse precinct will commence accepting bookings starting from Monday, June 3rd.

With a generous funding injection of $12.8 million from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, alongside contributions from various sources including the NSW Showground Stimulus Program, Drought Communities Funding, Crown Lands, and Council, the total investment in this redevelopment has reached $14.4 million.

This newly enhanced facility boasts a range of features including a spacious undercover arena, an outdoor sand arena, turfed areas, covered stables, and a state-of-the-art racehorse stable complex capable of accommodating up to 80 horses. Additionally, new parking areas for cars, trucks, and floats have been added for the convenience of visitors.

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Of notable appeal is the newly constructed racehorse exercise area, which includes round yards, a horse walker, and a 50-metre equine pool. These amenities are expected to draw considerable interest from equestrian enthusiasts and event organizers alike. Furthermore, enhancements such as powered event camping areas have expanded the facility’s versatility, allowing for hosting a diverse range of events including country music festivals, car shows, trade exhibitions, and markets.

Despite the official opening ceremony held on April 20th to commemorate the acknowledgment of government funding, certain essential construction tasks remain pending due to unforeseen circumstances. These include the high-voltage power upgrade, completion of the equine training area, and fencing installations crucial for ensuring the safety of all facility users.

Unfortunately, adverse weather conditions in the Northern Rivers region have exacerbated delays, saturating many areas of the facility and rendering them unsuitable for immediate use. However, efforts are underway to expedite the finalisation of these outstanding projects in alignment with the originally tendered project costs.

In tandem with these developments, the Council is set to deliberate on its Draft Revenue Policy for 2024-2025 at its upcoming meeting. This policy will outline the proposed fees for utilising the facility and will undergo a public exhibition period of 28 days following the meeting, during which community feedback and submissions will be welcomed.

We extend our gratitude to all existing stakeholders and potential users for their patience throughout this project’s completion, which has been hampered by unforeseen challenges. We eagerly anticipate opening all elements of this facility to serve the broader community.

For those interested in booking the venue, please visit the Council’s venue hire website.

 

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Northern Rivers Koala Hospital needs funding: Urgent appeal for support

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

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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: friendsofthekoala.org 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.

 

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Casino NSW News

Fire victims have a long road ahead

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Paul Wu and Kristina NHen out the front of what's left of their Mun-Tien restaurant damged by the Casino fire last month.
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Fire victims have a long road ahead

 

By Samantha Elley

Paul Wu and Kristina Nhen know it will be a long road to get their business back on track.

The restauranteurs and owners of the Mun-Tien Chinese and Thai Restaurant suffered a major setback when their business was one of two damaged by fire in Walker Street, Casino late last month.

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“I have spent half my life in that business,” said Mr Wu.

“We came to Casino 22 years ago and the kids grew up with that restaurant in their lives.”

The community has rallied to help Mr Wu and Ms Nhen, along with Lorraine Webber, who owned the laundromat and sewing business next door, which was also badly damaged.

Veronica Wheatley of Red Cross, Lorraine Webber, Margaret Boyle and Maxine Booby of Red Cross and Kristina Nhen and Paul Wu casino fire

Veronica Wheatley of Red Cross, Lorraine Webber, Margaret Boyle and Maxine Booby of Red Cross and Kristina Nhen and Paul Wu.

Last week the Red Cross ladies from the Doubtful Creek branch gave both sets of business owners $500 each.

“We wanted to help them with their businesses and get something to them,” said Red Cross spokesperson Veronica Wheatley.

Ms Nehn said every little bit helped.

“We are very, very appreciative for what the ladies have given us,” she said.

“This was our livelihood, that paid our bills and our mortgage.”

The couple now need to wait for council to decide when they can go in and start the clean up.

“The cool room was damaged but the freezer seems ok,” said Mr Wu.

“We lost the dish washer and everything else, but it looks like the takeaway containers were saved.”

 

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