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Rural News

EVOKEAG CONFERENCE PUTS SA FARMS ON THE WORLD STAGE

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

EVOKEAG CONFERENCE PUTS SA FARMS ON THE WORLD STAGE

South Australian farmers and primary producers have been showcased to the world this week as the AgriFutures evokeAG Conference wraps up in Adelaide today.

The two-day international event has attracted leaders, farmers, innovators, accelerators, researchers, universities, corporates, government and investors to shine a global spotlight on Australia, New Zealand and Asia as a hub for agrifood tech and related research excellence.

South Australia’s industry and research leaders have been centre stage on home turf, exposing the world to the region’s incredible industries, including food, wine and agribusiness, renewable energy, and space.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, will address the event today, and said it was a great event for South Australia and the nation’s ag sector.

“evokeAG is a world-class event and showcases innovation across a range of topics including biosecurity, sustainability, carbon farming, and First Nations agriculture,” Minister Watt said.

“The Albanese Government shares the industry’s vision for agriculture to become a $100 billion industry by 2030, and is backing research and innovation that will help to achieve that goal.

“In particular, our National Reconstruction Fund, currently being debated in Parliament, will deliver $500 million for co-investment with industry to boost value adding in agriculture, fisheries and forestry.”

South Australian Minister for Primary Industries, Clare Scriven said the State had a lot to be proud of.

“South Australia has undeniably proven itself to be a leader in the agrifood innovation space with the state’s food, wine and agribusiness being the largest manufacturing sector in the state and its largest export.

“Our primary industries generated a record $17.3 billion revenue in 21-22, an increase of 12%.
“We’re excited to be the place that will foster fruitful connections and innovative collaborations throughout the week”.

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150 Years of Continuous Operation and Australian Ownership

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Harwood Sunshine Sugar Mill 2024
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

150 Years of Continuous Operation and Australian Ownership

 

With the 2024 crushing season kicking off next week, the NSW sugar industry has more than just crushing cane and making sugar to be done this year.

The Harwood Sugar Mill will crush for its 150th consecutive season since 1874, with local cane crops estimated to achieve higher than expected yield. Some 560,000 tonnes of cane are set to be harvested across the Clarence Valley, with the mill commencing crushing operations on Monday 24th June.

The Broadwater Sugar mill will also start crushing on the 24th of June and is expected to process around 470,000 tonnes of cane from across the Richmond Valley.

“This is a remarkable achievement by the Broadwater growers who have been recovering since the worst known flood devastation on record just two years ago”; said Sunshine Sugar CEO, Mr Chris Connors.

The crop is forecast to increase year on year for the next few years as existing cane fields quickly recover to full production and new production areas come online.

Favourable weather conditions and record-high sugar prices are driving a resurgence in cane farming interest across the NSW Northern Rivers, as one of the regions’ oldest and most reliable agricultural industries regains favour.

The Richmond Valley alone has some 1,200 hectares of new cane production area on the books, with growers attracted by a forecast price of circa $60 per tonne for the next few years.

Moving on to the northern-most mill at Condong, it will be the first to fire up this year. On the 17th of June the Condong Sugar Mill will start processing a crop of around 475,000 tonnes from the Tweed Valley. The cool, fine weather is delivering good ripening conditions which boosts sugar content and yield.

Sunshine Sugar and the NSW sugar industry have plans to make the most of the milestone sesquicentenary season, with a line-up of industry and 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.

 

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CORAKI FERRY

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Coraki Ferry
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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

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.

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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TATHAM FERRY

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NOTICE OF MEMBERS EXTRAORINDARY LAND DEALING MEETING

TATHAM FERRY

 

By Helen Trustum

In the early days of dairying in the Richmond Valley, river boats played an important role in the transport of cream from dairy farms to the factory. Cream boats provided a service to farms that were often difficult to access by road and easily isolated in times of flooding. The cream boats traversed to the Richmond River from Woodburn to Coraki, before returning to Coraki and travelling up the Wilson River to Lismore.

As stated in the Richmond River Herald 16/3/1909 The Coraki / Tatham people were overjoyed when they were getting a ferry to operate across the river at Tatham.

Tatham Ferry - Johnny Schneider, Jill Barnett ( on horse), Ted Richardson, Johnny and Janice Patfield ( near horse). Photo supplied by Jill Barnett.

Tatham Ferry – Johnny Schneider, Jill Barnett ( on horse), Ted Richardson, Johnny and Janice Patfield ( near horse). Photo supplied by Jill Barnett.

A large number of townspeople met at the Coraki Rowing Club Shed to witness the launching of the new ferry built at the order of Tomki Shire, by Alf Conroy for the ferry service at Tatham. The new punt, which was decorated with flags, entered the water with a resounding smack, though very little spray fell on the deck. After the craft had been launched everyone made to the Rowing Club Shed where bottles were uncorked and the Engineer of Woodburn Shire, Mr A Adams proposed a toast to ”The Punt”. Mr Adams remarked: that he had taken a keen interest in the building of the punt. He congratulated both Tomki and Woodburn Shire on sourcing such a first class punt and trusted that it would have a long and successful career in the ferry service at Tatham.

Tatham Ferry - 1950. Fred Murphy and Kathleen McFadden ( first cousins)

Tatham Ferry – 1950. Fred Murphy and Kathleen McFadden ( first cousins)

The punt measured 30 feet in length (9.15 metres), 12 feet 3 inches(3.75 metres) beams and 3 feet deep  (91.5cm) with two 9 feet flap (2.75 metres).. The outside planking was built of Oregon pine, while the deck and upper works were hardwood. The ferry was sheathed with galvanized iron and carried three coats of tar inside and out. It was indeed one of the staunchest punts on the river and every way a credit to the designer Mr Kirkpatrick and builder Mr Alf Conroy.

On 16th December 1913, The Public works acknowledged approval of receipt of tender for one hundred and forty pound, eight shillings to J.H. Easterbrook for working on the ferry.

Tom Marsh at Tatham Post Office - 1977

Tom Marsh at Tatham Post Office – 1977

Ferryman, in 1917 was Mr J. Birmingham. He was given approval on 17th September 1917 for working the Tatham Ferry at 164 pounds and 5 shillings per year. Although it was not the lowest tender but a very popular one as Council had received a signed petition in his favor. President, Mr Sullivan, said he had explained the position to the Department in Sydney and they had said, they would like a returned soldier to work the punt.

The punt was almost on the boundary of Gundurimba Shire and visitors to the area used the punt almost as much as the ratepayers. For that reason, he did not think Tomki Shire should be saddled with the whole expense.

The Tatham Ferry was in service until 11th January 1968 then a new bridge was being built starting on 22nd October 1963.

Tatham Post Office

Tatham Post Office

Memories:

Frank Brown (now deceased): who was 92 years old at the time in 2020 remembered the great times as a lad growing up at Tatham, when the young ones of the district would meet at the Tatham Ferry and go swimming. This would happen every Sunday during summer. The ferry driver Gus Lewin would park the ferry in the middle of the river so the children could dive off. All the time watching for cars. They included children from Browns, Magners, Hancocks, Lyle and Kevin Clarke and Neville Cowan.

Frank also remembered the teacher from Pidcocks Lane School, which was over the river from the Brown property. Her name was Sally Rankin. Sally later married George Cox from Tatham. Each school day Sally would ride her horse from their property (known as Ray Mison’s) across the little ferry at Tatham and down to Pidcocks Lane School.

Jack Donovan (now deceased): In those early days of settlement at Tatham, Jack Donovan recalled in notes that it was necessary for a crossing at Tatham. The ferry consisted of pine and cedar chained together and a rope was fastened to trees on both sides, so it could be pulled over.

Joe Rathbourne was the first man to build a hotel at Tatham, on the south bank close to the wharf. The river near the wharf was a popular spot for swimming. A swimming club was formed in the 1920’s.

During flood times, great care had to be taken with the ferry disconnecting the rope so the ferry could be pulled up on to the bank to stop it being washed away. The main rope had to be dropped further down in the river so all boat traffic could pass by.

There was a bell that people could ring to alert the ferryman. This bell was given to the Casino Public School.

Tom Marsh (now deceased): Some early reflections from Tom Marsh from his notes:

Wharf was built by Mr Rankin on the south bank. There was also a store, hotel, blacksmith, saddler’s, fruit shop, bakers, George Smith Bootmaker and Mr Wilson’s Creamery.

The village was built in a very flooded area. 1887 “Big Flood”, 1891, 1893, !921 “Big Flood”, March 1931, then a series 1945, 1948 and the big one 1954.

Tatham Public School opened at The Red Hill, at Tatham, Johnathan McInnes was the teacher. Convent School opened in 1906 with a few desks in the back of the church. School Hall was built in 1908.

Marie Kempton: The family all had fun swimming off the ferry, that was all the “Tatham-ites”. They were O’Donnells, De Lewins, Wares, Eckerts and the Parkers. During the 1954 flood, Marie along with her family, the Small’s, took refuge on the road outside Parkers house.

Colleen Knight: Gus De Lewin was one of the ferry operators also the cream carrier. His family Sonia, Jo, Florence and a younger one would help him on the cream truck.

Ferry Drivers: Harry Windsor, Nugget and Archie Lamont, G. Schneider, John Birmingham, Tom Donovan, J. Watts, Gus De Lewin, Bill Leahy, Joe Rathbourne, Albert Avery, J. Frost, J.W. Easterbrook,

Ref: Mid Richmond Historical Society at Coraki, Jack Donovan’s memories, Tom Marsh’s memories, records shared by Elaine Trustum, Tatham.

 

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