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November 13th: People in So-Called Armidale, NSW, staged interventions in the towns commercial hubs during peak afternoon shopping hours, using a megaphone to project statements and extracts of articles from Iranian refugee, Behrouz Boochani, who has been detained on Manus Island since 2014.
While hundreds of men are facing starvation, thirst and threats of violence on Manus Island, the interventions disrupted the everyday monotony and insulation of our daily routines. These actions aimed to amplify the voices of refugees that are silenced, distorted and disregarded in our society.
In solidarity with refugees in their fight for total freedom.
And its oh, what a beautiful,
Oh, Oh Lord, what a beautiful city
Twelve gates to the city, hallelujah!
Reverend Gary Davis
We all have a city or, if we are fortunate, cities of our heart. A place you see for the first time and say I am home. It is intangible a feeling, a sense of you belonging to it, and it belonging to you. You might call it a spirit of place. And whenever you return to your city of the heart, you feel that youve never been gone, that the years that have passed since your last visit, and the changes time has wrought on it and on yourself mean nought.
I felt this spirit the first time entered London with a bunch of Birmingham school mates on a spree. When I first saw Paris. And when I first crossed the Jebal ash-Sharqi from Lebanon and descended to the oasis that was Damascus.
And so too when first I set eyes on the Old City of Jerusalem, and walked through the Damascus Gate. This ancient gate was the portal to a city that has forever danced on the edge of my consciousness (for that it what these cities do).
Back in the day, I would roll down from Ramallah or Mount Scopus to Jerusalem and stand before its faux mediaeval walls. I would walk through the Damascus Gate into the Old City, grab a felafel sandwich, some figs, or a plate of kanafah, depending on the time of day, and amble contentedly through the alleyways and souks down to the Via Dolarosa, and then up Daoud Street to Omar Ibn al Khatab Square and the Jaffa Gate beyond. Traveling back from West Jerusalem, I would retrace my steps, and always with the same sense of wonder and delight.
It was a journey of the senses the call of the muezzin and the peal of church bells, the cacophony of the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, the colours of the markets and shops, the aromas of spices, sweets, and cooking meats, the infinite variety of dress and custom of the many faiths, tribes and communities that dwelt therein or, like me, were passing through. If I had time on my hands, I would sit for a while in the gardens atop the Haram ash-Sharif, or wander into the Dome of the Rock or al Aqsa to sit and ponder awhile, or else progress through ecstatic clamour of the Escher edifice that is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
The Occupation was relatively new then. I was not oblivious to it, but rather, very aware of its manifestations. I had crossed from Jordan, via the famous Allenby Bridge, and had watched my fellow bus passengers, Palestinians, endure the humiliating searches and questions of the border police, whilst armed military patrols were commonplace. None expected it to endure, ossify, and drag on for fifty years. There...
Its a win that will place them in the NSW Tourism Hall of Fame. For the third year in a row Bluesfest Byron Bay has won Best Major Festival & Event at the NSW Tourism Awards. The competition was particularly fierce in 2017 with Vivid Sydney, 2017 Tamworth Country Music Festival and The Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras all in contention for the title.
Bluesfest Executive Director Peter Noble comments on the win:
Pinch me Im dreaming, we just won Best Major Festival and Event at the NSW tourism awards for the third year in a row. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would happen. I would like to thank everyone associated with presenting the event for their incredible dedication and professionalism.
Bluesfest is proud to be a major driver of tourism to the Northern Rivers region, bringing $107 million and 32,000 visitors in 2017.
Music lovers from across Australia will visit the beautiful Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just outside Byron Bay over the Easter long weekend (Thursday 29th March to Monday 2nd of April 2018) for the 29th Annual Bluesfest. During the Festival they will enjoy 12 hours of music each day on multiple stages, incredible food and market stalls and on-site camping in a range of accommodation options. Artists announced for 2018 include Lionel Richie, Robert Plant, John Butler Trio, Youssou Ndour, Tash Sultana, Seal, Jackson Browne, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Gomez, The New Power Generation, Jos Gonzalez, Jimmy Cliff, Chic featuring Nile Rodger, Canned Heat plus many more with further announcements to come.
Bluesfest asks media to stay tuned for another exciting award announcement early next week.
Further info + tickets at www.bluesfest.com.au
The post BLUESFEST ENTERS NSW TOURISM HALL OF FAME WITH THIRD WIN IN A ROW! appeared first on Byron Bay Blog.
NORPAs 2018 season launch will be held tonight at 5.30pm at Lismore City Hall (Friday 17 November) where north coast culture lovers can get a taste for the next thrilling selection of physical theatre, dance, drama, music and cabaret works for the region.
All 2018 Season shows will go on sale tonight with an event including live performances, food and drink.
One of the biggest shows coming up is NORPAs newest work which has been years in the making and inspired by a Bundjalung Nation creation story.
Djurra is an emotive piece of dance theatre that tells the story through interwoven vignettes. Using powerful First Nation monologues and striking imagery, this new work will be an unforgettable experience. But its risky. Director Kirk Page has been brought in to get the work from development to the stage.
It started three years ago, says Page, and it was a co-artistic-led project between Rhoda Roberts and Julian Louis. Rhoda brought the story to the table and the company was interested in making a theatre work. Its taken time to work out how to do this. How do we translate this into a theatrical experience in the most respectful and creative way?
There have been a lot of elders come in and contribute, says Page, namely Roy Gordon, who is an elder and a local and an actor and language man.
The edgy aspect of this show is to tell a story of place and culture but at the same time to safeguard the cultural integrity of that story for Indigenous people for whom aspects are part of secret business.
Its about doing it in a way where you dont give away secrets, says Page, but tell stories. There are themes of family, themes of coming home. Themes of what life does to us. Those stories are universal and relatable.
The most challenging thread to the story is how do we talk about lore without sharing lore elements. This is secret mens business; there is a cultural collateral that is not open to share with everyone. How do we thread these elements for a theatrical experience so we can learn something, reflect on ourselves and create a great show, and hopefully not get our sights crossed and confuse people?
In the end, says Kirk, Djurra is an offering and its there for people to translate for themselves and to get led by what they see and what they think and what they hear.
Its deep-end s...
Amid all the nations and worlds turmoil, we had the privilege (and extreme difficulty) of judging the Rural Youth Ambassador and Mullumbimby Showgirl Awards for the 110th Mullumbimby Show last weekend.
It was an absolute pleasure to meet 18 young people, tiny tots to young adults, who made us so proud to have them as members of our community.
Rest assured, we can have faith that our future generations are of high calibre and will serve our community very well.
Donna Jenner, Hayley Walker, Neil Farquhar, Mullumbimby
A Ballina Shire councillor is lobbying to have shade structures installed at childrens playgrounds in the shire, warning that exposure to the sun during childhood is a major case of skin cancers.
Cr Jeff Johnson said the recently constructed playground at the Ballina Heights Sports Fields should be considered a priority.
The childrens playground located at the Ballina Heights sports field currently has no shade structure, Cr Johnson said. This playground, which is next to a large carpark, bakes in the summer sun causing the equipment to often be too hot to use.
Whats the point with installing playground equipment if its unable to be used because the equipment is simply too hot?
Cr Johnson said the playground was very popular with families from the Ballina Heights area as well as families that brought their children to play sport on the weekends or to train during the week.
I have long been an advocate for additional shade structures to be installed and this popular park should be seen as a high priority, he said.
The Ballina Shire has one of the highest rates of skin cancer / melanomas in the world and studies have shown that exposure during childhood is a major cause of skin cancers that appear later in life, said Cr Jeff Johnson.
Paul Hickey, Ballina Councils General Manager has advised that
the value of the works is estimated at $15,000.
This is a small price to pay to ensure that our childrens playground equipment is actually able to be used during the summer months and school holidays and that protection from the sun is provided.
The post Ballina playgrounds need...
A Casino father who allegedly set up a Facebook account to groom a 15 year-old girl for sex is required to enter a plea when he returns to court next month.
Jacob Lee Benn was charged in June after the girl complained to police and an investigation was launched by the State Crime Commands Internet Child Exploitation Unit.
The 30 year-old father of two, who allegedly communicated with the teenger from his marital home, was charged with soliciting child pronography, grooming a teenager online for sexual activity and sending indecent material online.
Police allege between November 20, 2016, and the day before his arrest, June 14, Mr Benn sent various message via Facebook messenger to the 15-year-old girl with the intention of having sex with her.
During their communications, it is alleged Mr Benn told the girl not to reveal his identity and to keep their communications a secret.
The sender did this with the intention of making it easier to procure the recipient to engage in sexual activity with the sender, court documents stated.
The accused continued to progress this offence over a prolonged period and he instigated the use of a false profile on the social media site to perpetrate this offence.
He also asked the victim to delete and cover the use of this profile.
The brief of evidence against Mr Benn has been completed by police but he is yet to enter a plea to the allegations.
This week, Magistrate David Heilpern adjourned Mr Benns matters until December 11, for a plea to be entered and he be committed for trial or sentence, depending on his plea.
Mr Benn remains free on conditional bail until his next court appearance.
Conditions of his bail include not to contact the victim by any means, not to go to the victims school, not to access any form of social media and not to contact any person under 16 unless they are immediate family.
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A 24-year-old was arrested after fleeing from the scene where hed crashed his car into a school bus in Tweed Heads yesterday afternoon.
Fifteen students were trapped in the bus for a short time before being released by emergency services, none seriously injured as a result of the crash at around 3.20pm in Wharf Street.
A 40-year-old female passenger in the car was trapped and later taken to Gold Coast Hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The driver of the car and a male passenger reportedly fled the scene before police arrived.
A short time later, officers went to a nearby home and arrested the driver.
He was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital for mandatory blood and urine testing and is currently being questioned by police.
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Renowned Australian artist Michael Zavros has chosen the Tweed for the official launch next week of his debut book of his celebrated works .
As part of the launch on 23 November, Zavros will take part in a Q and A with the director of the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre, Susi Muddiman, discussing the book, simply titled Michael Zavros.
Ms Muddiman said the artist and the gallery had enjoyed a close relationships over the years and it was tremendously exciting that he has chosen our gallery to officially unveil his spectacular book.
Michaels work appears in the collections of major museums and private collections around the world and he is one of the true celebrities of modern Australian art, Ms Muddiman said.
He is well known for his hyper-realistic paintings and, more recently, for photography, sculpture, film and performance.
Our conversation will discuss Michaels art practice and the evolution of his exciting monograph, and he will be available to sign copies of the book.
His stunning debut monograph features more than 120 beautifully reproduced works, as well as essays from some of the art worlds leading figures, Ms Muddiman said.
The event begins at 6pm and costs $25 or $20 for Friends of the Gallery members. Numbers are limited and bookings, along with pre-purchases of the book, can be made online before 20 November at www.trybooking.com/SKML
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Armed with a felt-tipped pen, she playfully tackles complex issues of race, exoticism, gender, sexuality and identity.
TextaQueens engaging portraits are showcased in Between You and Me, the first survey exhibition of this contemporary artist, on display at Tweed Regional Gallery from 8 December 2017 25 February 2018.
The survey exhibition brings together more than 30 works, highlighting TextaQueens compelling marker works on paper, as well as a new suite of photos created during a recent placement at Mornington Shires Police Point Artist in Residency Program.
Coming straight from his show in Las Vegas for two shows here in Australian Elvis tribute artists Jason Dale will be hitting the boards in Lismore for the show of a lifetime. He will perform one day of shows here in Lismore to raise funds for the local charity RED Inc, who work with people with disabilities in the region, to support their art program on January 19, 2018.
Jason Dale is one of Europes top Elvis Tribute Artists; we are absolutely thrilled that he has offered to come to little old Lismore to perform for us to help raise much needed funds for the REDinc. art school. He is an extraordinary performer and looks uncannily like the great man himself! said Elvis event coordinator, Josie Donnelly.
The funds from this event will go towards the famous REDinc. arts program that has transformed the lives of many local artists with a disability: with many going on to exhibit across Australia and becoming semi-professional artists in their own right. Funds raised from this show will ensure that this program will be ongoing with its usual vigor supporting local artists with a disability.
There will be two shows taking place at the Lismore workers club the first is an intimate 68 Comeback Specialfrom 2.30pm and the main show Viva Las Vegas takes off at 6.30pm.
To find out more about REDinc. Click here www.redinc.org.au or book tickets online here or call www.lismoreworkers.com.au/entertainment-bookings 6621 7401.
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Competing agains t 1,000 other students local Brunswick Heads Public School student Ruby Dokmanovic has reached the finals for the the years five and six state final of the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition.
Ruby is currently in Sydney with her parents getting ready for the finals of the competition today that are being held at the ABC Studios in Ultimo, Sydney.
Ruby is an outstanding school captain, sportsperson, debater and general allrounder who is a role model for positive behaviour in her school and community, said Melanie Currie, relieving principal at Brunswick Heads Public School.
She is passionate about human rights, equity and inclusion and we are very proud that she is able to represent our school at a State level in the Multicultural Public Speaking Competition.
In its twenty-second year each of the 12 state finalists will be addressing the topic of what multiculturalism means in our society.
The competition was established with the aim of heightening awareness of multicultural issues among primary school students while developing their interest in public speaking, said a spokesperson for the Multicultural Perspectives Public Speaking Competition.
Topics ranging from when a migrant becomes an Australian, online racism and the immigrant contribution to sport will be tackled.
Pacific Highway general manager Bob Higgins has said the strict conditions governing the highway upgrade ensure that environmental impacts are being kept to a minimum.
Were under scrutiny by a number of government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Authority, and the federal and state approval bodies, he said.
They make suggestions. We take that on board. Generally we are complying with requirements.
If we find sick animals we have a rescue plan in place and we work very closely with Friends of the Koala on how that animal should be treated.
There is no suggestion that were trying to hide dead animals.
Theres no doubt there are a number of people who dont want the highway built and were trying to work with people to let them know in advance what we are doing.
Mr Higgins defended the route chosen saying we believe this is the best one.
If you look at the route quite a lot of it goes through cleared farmland. Yes there are pockets of vegetation but we looked at the route east of the highway and the issues were soft soil and how you get through Wardell we came to the conclusion that this route was the best for the highway, he said.
There are very tight controls for this section. Much more than many other projects along the highway.
As part of those approvals were being watched very closely by the EPA and we have to produce various reports.
Despite those assurances, Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe has today presented a motion to the NSW Parliament condemning the failure of the Berejiklian Government to implement proper protections for the koala population impacted by the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade project.
Ms Sharpe used the motion to outline serious concerns for koalas following a recent severe and extensive wildfire in the area in September, shortly after koala exclusion fencing was installed in July.
Reports indicate that the fire burned 320 hectares of native vegetation over two days on 4 and 5 September 2017, including up to the south-eastern edge of the fencing, resulting in extensive loss of koala habitat while the fencing may have trapped koalas fleeing the fire.
This situation is compounded by clearing of koala habitat occurring in the...
A strong contingent of people from the northern rivers joined hundreds of other Australians near Alice Springs last year, to mark 50 years since the establishment of the Pine Gap Joint Military Facility in the Norther Territory.
Those peaceful activists are now following the trials of six people who were arrested after entering the forbidden territory around the US/Australian signals intelligence spy base at Pine Gap.
Pine Gap is an integral part of the global US war machine and makes Australia a nuclear target. Information gathered at Pine Gap is sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, USA, is used to direct drones to bomb civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Six peace activists chose to trespass on the secret spy base Prohibited Area as a way to witness, pray, and play music to lament the tragedy of war, and highlight Pine Gaps role in the never ending war.
This week the activists, charged with entering a prohibited property under the Defence Special Undertakings Act, are in court in Alice Springs facing hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines, or seven years in jail.
Paul Christie of Cairns was convicted Guilty by the jury on Wednesday 15 November for entering the base alone following a two day trial. He is yet to be sentenced.
The remaining five activists, Margaret Pestorius, from Cairns, and Jim Dowling, Andy Paine, Franz Dowling and Tim Webb from Brisbane go to court on Thursday 16 November. They entered the base together to play viola, guitar, to lament war and pray for peace. Once this joint trial is concluded all 6 Pine Gap activists will be sentenced.
The court has refused entry to Jim Dowling because he doesnt wear shoes.
Quite how they expe...
Lismore City Council is inviting families to a free twilight community event with activities, food, art and fun for all ages on Friday, 24 November to celebrate National Recycling Week.
The free event will run from 5pm to 7.30pm at the Lismore Recycling & Recovery Centre, which will come alive with twilight activities for the whole family. These include:
Families from near and far are encouraged to come along, get creative, see some inspiring artworks and learn more about waste and recycling.
We have decided to hold this event in the evening as it will be cooler and the facility will be closed to waste disposal, so there will be plenty of easy parking, Councils Business Development Coordinator Danielle Hanigan said.
There will be art from our Waste to...
A Lismore man has been ordered to stand trial in the District Court over the alleged sexual assault of his 10 year-old daughter and another seven year-old victim.
The 36 year-old appeared in Lismore Local Court this week facing four charges following his arrest in August.
The mans name has been withheld for legal reasons and to protect the identities of the alleged victims.
Following complaints from the victims, the man was arrested by detectives from the Ballina Child Abuse Squad on August 10 and interviewed.
He was charged with four offences which allegedly occurred between 2016 and 2017 at Tabulam and refused bail.
Police alleged between February and August last year, the man had sexual intercourse with his daughter, who was then aged 10.
He was also charged with assaulting the girl by bouncing her up and down on his lap when he was naked and licking various parts of her body.
Then, between July 11 and 13 this year, the man is accused of committing an act of indecency on a seven year-old.
Just 28 days after the most recent alleged incident the man was arrested and has remained in custody, on remand, since.
The man is yet to enter a plea to the charges.
This week, Magistrate David Heilpern ordered the man to stand trial in the District Court on charges of aggravated sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 14, one count of aggravated indecent assault and one count of indecent assault of a person under 16 years of age.
A second count of aggravated indecent assault was placed on a section 166 certificate, to be considered by the judge at sentencing.
Mr Heilpern ordered the man to be arraigned in the Lismore District Court on December 13.
The man remains in custody on remand until that date.
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A Lismore father will stand trial in the Supreme Court after pleading not guilty to the brutal stabbing murder of his son last November.
Christopher John Gibson was arraigned in the Supreme Court in Sydney earlier this months and pleaded not guilty to the murder of his son Shawn on the night of November 18.
The court previously heard emergency services were called to Barrow Lane, North Lismore, about 10.45 pm following reports of a stabbing.
When they arrived, police and paramedics found 29 year-old Shawn laying on the ground deceased, suffering multiple stab wounds to his chest, shoulder and neck.
Mr Gibson snr was arrested at the scene and after questioning he was charged the following morning.
At a Lismore Local Court appearance in July, Mr Gibsons solicitor Jim Fuggle told the court his client had asserted he was acting in self defence during a fight between the pair.
To help prove Mr Gibson snrs claim, Mr Fuggle said he would be calling two of the victims brothers to give evidence.
The accused has raised self defence in answer to the charge and has participated in an ERISP (electronic interview) with police shortly after the charged incident wherein he asserts fears of the deceased based on prior physical assaults on him by the deceased including one witnessed by (the brothers), Mr Fuggles submission said.
In a committal hearing at Lismore Local Court in September, the court heard Shawn suffered multiple stab wounds, with one penetrating the lining of his chest and severing a critical artery.
Another stab wound to the victims upper shoulder penetrated 23 mm, the court heard.
The court heard the relationship between the men was tense and the victims friends had seen previous fights between the pair.
When he was arraigned in the Supreme Court in Sydney he pleaded not guilty.
His trial, which is estimated to take four weeks, was set down to commence on July 16, 2018, before the Supreme Court in Lismore.
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Lismore City Council has fined a local development company $6000 for undertaking unlawful works relating to a subdivision approved by the Land & Environment Court in 2011.
The 75-lot Ubrihien Estate subdivision at 554 Ballina Road, Goonellabah, was the subject of an appeal to the Land & Environment Court, and a number of amendments were made to the original development application to address numerous planning issues before the Court granted consent.
Construction on the subdivision commenced in early 2017, and a community complaint was received by Council in June alleging that Riordans Consulting Surveyors Pty Ltd were undertaking unlawful activities on site.
Council conducted an investigation to determine the level of compliance with the Court approval, and identified that a significant amount of unlawful works had been undertaken outside the area approved by the Court, which included the following unapproved activities:
The unlawful works covered an area of more than two hectares outside the approved areas for subdivision work. Additional concerns were identified about the lack of adequate sediment and erosion controls within the approved work area.
Lismore City Council Compliance Coordinator Matt Kelly said the investigation results were assessed under Councils Enforcement Policy, which concluded that a number of offences had been committed against the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
As a result, the decision was made to issue the project manager responsible for the work, Riordans Consulting Surveyors Pty Ltd, with a penalty notice in the amount of $6000 for the offence of undertaking development without consent, he said.
Two formal cautions for other offences attracting fines totalli...
A decade! Thats how long the Mullum Music Festival has been holding street parades, mentoring young musicians and filling the towns venues and streets with vibrant music and happy punters.
The festival will again take place November 16 till 19.
When we started, I booked the festival I wanted to go to, Glenn Wright told The Echo.
Ten years on and its still very enjoyable, he says. Im very grateful a large part of my life is programming and dealing with musicians and the arts its been a great journey. Ten years ago, it seemed there was more generic entertainment locally; it was aimed more at a transient audience there seems much more diversity and depth now, and I believe that the festival has contributed to that.
Just a few of Glenns picks for the festival include John Cleary (US), Lindi Ortega (Can), Z-Star Delta (UK) and Gabriel Garzn-Montano (US). Newcomers to the area, Harry Angus (Cat Empire etc) and Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange) are also a big part of the festival.
Locals also feature prominently Jo Jo Smith will celebrate 50 years in the business, while highly regarded local perf...
On Saturday November 18 from 9am, a gathering is planned on Byrons Main Beach to spell Ban The Bag NSW in the sand.
Co-organiser Kate Nelson from www.IQuitPlastics.com says, NSW is the only state that has not banned single- use plastic bags.
Whales have been washing up on beaches with bellies full of plastic. Its past time to join the rest of the nation on this policy.
We need to be big in numbers, so our premier gets the message loud and clear!
Take 3 Non-Profit is hosting a rally the same day down south in Bateau Bay from 10am, while Manly will host one on Ocean Care Day later this month.
Wear Blue. Help create change. Community activism works look at the cash for containers campaign! Dont let the dolphins, whales, turtles swallow any more plastic bags coming from our beautiful coastline.
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