Putting finishing touches to Coorabell Hall are association members (left to right) David Hollingworth, George Lewin and Janet Kneale, in front of the Aboriginal art now gracing the front doors.
Putting finishing touches to Coorabell Hall are association members (left to right) David Hollingworth, George Lewin and Janet Kneale, in front of the Aboriginal art now gracing the front doors.

Residents to kick up their heels

Coorabell Hall turns 100 this Saturday and the grand old lady of the ridge top has had a new paint job inside and out in preparation for the great day.

In keeping with the spirit of reconciliation that is spreading over the nation, Coorabell Hall Association members decided they wanted to do something to recognise the Bundjalung people.

“Everyone speaks the words,” said association president George Lewin.

“But we thought, how better to show our respect than to put Aboriginal art on our doors.”

The front doors have been painted by Bundjalung artists Lewis Walker and David Miller, and the artwork tells the creation story of the giant lizard that came from the ocean, of how one of her eggs became Julian Rocks, while around her a song line goes to the bora ring at Lennox Head, and a meeting place is surrounded by the healing colours of the rainbow.

“Gingi Wulla,” it announces: “Welcome.”

Everyone is invited for a great day of fun this Saturday, with the day divided into two sessions – entertainment, kids’ games and entertainment from 11am to 3pm, and from 7pm to midnight a night of dancing and merriment.

During the day, Coorabell Public School will be running a maypole for the kids from 11.15am, there’ll be a display of Jeff Wadsworth’s wonderful collection of old-fangled farm machinery and engines, and to bring things more up to date, there’ll also be an Aboriginal dance segment, where Jason Campbell amazingly morphs a traditional goanna dance into a modern hip-hop/break dance sequence.

For history buffs, Kristine Pryor has compiled a very detailed and fascinating history of the hall and the Coorabell area from old newspaper clippings, public records and private photos and recollections.

This has been turned into a visual presentation by Wendy Gray, and will be shown on a large screen at the hall during the day, and will also be available for sale as an 80-page booklet to help fund the event.

Dress in style

Getting ready for the evening dance, locals have been religiously attending Sunday morning practice in the hall to brush up on their Pride of Erin and Barn Dance, although they won’t be dancing until dawn as the local lads and lasses reputedly did a century ago.

Music will be provided by a country dance band imported all the way from Casino, Check 2, and there’ll be solo performances including trumpeting and bush poetry.

Locals are invited to dress in the style of yesteryear for the big night, and awards will be handed out for best period costumes.

The celebrations are open to people from all across the shire – and visitors.

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