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Local News

TATHAM FERRY

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Tatham Ferry

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.

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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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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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