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Local News

WYRALLAH FERRY

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Fred West on Wyrallah Ferry

WYRALLAH FERRY

 

By Helen Trustum

Nestled in the hills 10 kilometers south of Lismore lies Wyrallah. It was once a thriving place when it boasted a mill, brickworks, four hotels, two wine shops, four butcher shops, churches and a school as well as other stores and public buildings. One of the first sawmills on the Richmond River was erected in the early 1860’s at Wyrallah on what was known as the North Arm. In 1862 Mr William Lane and son Albert landed from the schooner “Josephine” and erected a slab hut. Shortly after the paddle boat “Rainbow” arrived from Port Stephens with the machinery for the owner James and Captain Robert Beckenridge. Within a year the mill was operating. Beckenridge Brothers had their teams of bullocks, trucks, drays, horses and cattle were bought overland from Port Stephens, Via Grafton and the Tablelands.

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Randle Children off to school by crossing river in the boat

Randle Children off to school by crossing river in the boat

Referring to the ferry, Gundurimba Shire records make note of it functioning in 1885. The ferryman’s cottage beside the Wilsons River was built about the same time the ferry started operating on the 1st September 1885. The ferry carried foot passengers, animals, horses, gigs and drays, with the ferry wound across the river by hand. When the ferry sank in the 1890 flood, it was sent to Ballina for repairs. Foot passengers and horseman were carried by boat and the horses swam the river.

The ferrymen operated the Wyrallah ferry, in 24 hour shifts. These men were: Bill George, Fred West Snr., James Edward Pearce, Charles Tonkin, Mr Nipperess, Herb and Ray Whitney. (only names I have found out).

Fred West under new bridge at Wyrallah Ferry - 1968

Fred West under new bridge at Wyrallah – 1968

The last ferry operator before the bridge was built in 1968 was Mr Charles Tonkin. The new Wyrallah Bridge was officially opened by the Honourable Sir Davis Hughes, Minister for Public Works on 31st August 1968.

The Wyrallah Ferry was then moved to Swan Bay and the Ferrymans House was moved just a few hundred metres to the rear of the Wyrallah Bush Fire Brigade headquarters.  Wyrallah residents were very happy with their new bridge.

Ferryman's Cottage near the Wyrallah Ferry

Ferryman’s Cottage near the Wyrallah Ferry

Memories:

Dawn Coles, (nee Randle): was reared at Ferros Lane, Ruthven in a family of 13. The children loved the river and every chance they had the Randle children would be swimming in the river. That is where they learnt to swim with their father getting them to jump into the water while they were tied on to a long rope. Dawn remembers the Gallagher Family often fishing at night. Travelling to the school at Wyrallah the children had to cross the river by boat. Dawn also rode her pony to school where she would cross the ferry. This was in the early 1950’s.

Marie Essery, (nee West): lived with her parents, Fred and Elsie West on Tuckean Island. When it came for her to attend school at Wyrallah she was boarded at Ray and Mavis Prentice’s home near the Wyrallah ferry.  Marie is the Grand Daughter of the Ferry Master at Wyrallah, Fred West Snr. and his wife Lavina, who lived in the Ferrymans cottage near the ferry. Fred operated the ferry for many years.

Jim Pearce: His Grandfather James Edward Pearce was the ferryman at Wyrallah. Jim spent many great weekends sitting on the side gate fishing for garfish. This would have been between 1953 and 1955.

David Barnsley: As a child, David used to go on the run delivering bread for McLeish’s Bakery over the ferry and back to town. One day the river was swollen with flood water. He found it very scary as he had to hand wind the ferry over and with all the logs and debris coming downstream at him, he said the responsibility was way beyond his paygrade $0.

Fred Hoskins: Fred still lives at Wyrallah and at 92 years of age, remembers when Bill George retired from operating the Wyrallah Ferry and went to live in Sydney. Every time he heard the bell ringing at the railway station, he would say “COMING”. Fred said it took a long time to get that out of his mind. As that was the way of telling the Ferry Crew, they were on the other side waiting for the ferry. Bill was Ferrymaster at Wyrallah during the 1920’s.

Ref: Northern Star, Fred Hoskins Wyrallah, May Essery Mullumbimby, and Dawn Coles Lismore.

 

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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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