It is some time since I did a media round-up. In this one, I want to focus on small towns plus the independent media.
In the north west opal mining town of Lightning Ridge, the Ridge News reports that the Australian Opal Centre is rallying its supporters for an application for funding to construct the Australian Opal Centre building at Three Mile, Lightning Ridge.
The Australian Government’s Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF) is a $1 billion national program to support regional infrastructure projects that will improve economic and social outcomes by building on unique regional capacity and potential. Applications for the first round of funding close on Friday May 13 so the heat is on AOC staff and committee to complete their application.
These types of proposals are very important because they build the infrastructure that can support future development.
Staying in Lightning Ridge, the News reports that the town has been abuzz with tourists. This includes the Namoi Valley Antique Vehicle Club who stayed overnight. "It was such a pleasure", the paper reports, "to see the various vintage cars around the street."
This photo shows David and Helen Revell in their 1906 Alldays.
I wanted to stay in Western New England and move to Walgett next. Sadly, the weekly Walgett Spectator does not have a web site!
Moving east to a bigger centre, Armidale's independent local newspaper is, oddly, called The Independent.
I write for the Rural Press owned Armidale Express, the third oldest surviving newspaper in NSW. In fact, two of the three oldest papers in what is still NSW are in New England - the Express plus the Maitland Mercury.
The oldest is Granny Herald, still fulminating over its knitting at anything that threatens Sydney.
I grew up thinking of the SMH as the enemy because of its three stage approach. If it wasn't of interest to its predominantly Sydney readership, the paper ignored the matter. If it was of interest but had no impact on Sydney, the paper would report it, if often with a degree of condescension. If it threatened Sydney's power or economic interests, the paper would sneer and attempt to discredit.
I'm not sure that anything has changed.
But I mustn't forget The Independent. Frankly, in terms of web sites it really puts the Express in the shade!
Under the banner TAS Headmaster to be hung with predecessors, the paper reports on the unveiling of a portrait of The Armidale School headmaster Murray Guest.
I am a TAS old boy, as are a number of others who write on New England interests such as Paul Barratt, so this story is of interest to us. However, the Independent had another recent story that was of broader significance. Yet you wouldn't get this if you didn't have background knowledge.
Under the heading Local Aboriginal Land Council kicks goals, the paper reports that Deputy Chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Tom Briggs, has congratulated the Armidale Local Aboriginal Land Council (ALALC) for its way out of financial and governance issues that have plagued the organisation over a number of years.
Just a small story, but an interesting one.
Annette is the daughter of Bill McCarthy, the former Labor member for Armidale in the NSW Parliament. She took up the job as CEO of ALALC last year, the first non-Aboriginal person to hold the position. My congratulations.
Moving north, The Southern Free Times is actually a Queensland newspaper. However, it covers the northern or Queensland end of the New England Tablelands, the area known as the Granite Belt. Here the state border actually bisects New England. There are quite close links between Northern New England and the Granite belt and southern Darling Downs.
The paper records that on 15 May there will be a heritage day at Stanthorpe Museum featuring a three-course camp oven dinner at lunchtime with freshly brewed billy tea and damper available all day long.
The admission price of $15 is all-inclusive.
Visitors can explore through the Ballandean Shepherds Hut, see a model tin miner’s sluice and experience many other exhibits which depict the lives, struggles and achievements of Stanthorpe people.
At 11.30am a special tree planting ceremony will honour former museum stalwart Owen Nielsen. The tree, to be planted at the front of the museum, will symbolise all that Owen cheerfully gave to his friends at the museum and to the community of the Granite Belt through his many years of service.
South from Stanthorpe and back over the border, the Tenterfield Star reports on a Tenterfield Shire cane toad warning.
I would have thought that the noxious cane toad would have found Tenterfield a tad too cold. That's true, but the Shire is worried. There are reports of cane toads, but these have proved to be the eastern banjo frog, also known as the eastern popplebonk.
What I hadn't realised is just how far south the pest had spread. I quote:
Ms Lorang (National Parks and Wild Life) said it was possible for toads to “hitch a ride” in people’s vehicles when they returned from the coast, where cane toads had spread to Port Maquarie, with a colony in Sydney. Casino is declaring war on the pests, with a muster being held today to help eradicate the toad.
Mmm! I can't resist saying that the toad might feel at home in Sydney!
Staying on the New England Highway but moving south to Guyra, the Guyra Argus reports that 50 teams attended the annual Guyra polocrosse carnival held in April each year at the Richard White Memorial Grounds at Bald Blair.
Guyra itself fielded four senior teams with two extras. a junior section and two sub junior teams. I had no idea that polocrosse was so strong in Guyra.
The Argus also reports that members of Armidale based ABS Building Society (ABS) had voted overwhelmingly to merge with Greater Building Society at a special meeting at the Armidale Bowling Club. I had seen this report elsewhere, but should record it formally because it marks the end of a small piece of local history.
I really must do these reports more regularly, desirably once a fortnight as originally planned. I am out of time and have barely scratched the surface!