House debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Constituency Statements

Page Electorate: Cabbage Tree Island Public School, Evans Head

10:40 am

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Cabbage Tree Island is a wonderful community, and the school is an integral part of it. This Saturday, Cabbage Tree Island Public School will celebrate 125 years since it was established in 1893. It is one of a very few 100 per cent Aboriginal-enrolled schools in New South Wales. The school started as a small building on Cabbage Tree Island, with Mr Griffin being the first teacher. After 125 years, the school has come a long way. Former students include world-renowned artist Digby Moran, cricketer Bob Anderson, who famously bowled out Sir Don Bradman, and Amanda Roberts, who played touch football for Australia, just to name a few.

This Saturday will see an expected 1,000 former students, staff and families come together, with dancing, storytelling, jumping castles, mechanical bulls and lots of exhibits. The year 3-6 class have co-written and composed a song called 'We Are Here' with One Vision Productions and the school's staff. The song, with video footage, will be launched on the day. A large mural in the amphitheatre at the back of the school was designed by students, staff and local families, marking the 125-year celebrations.

I would like to say a big congratulations to the acting principal, Juanita Thomson, and her staff, Sophie Leonard, Olle Cooper, Theresa Anderson-James, Jenny Frost, Dino De Stefani, Karen Rantissi, Ricky Cook, Matthew James, Mark Thomson, Josh Burston, Johann Mortwitzer, Stacey Walder, Cheerie Cross, Lisa Mulheron, Laura Noble, Alwyn Cook and Rani Ferguson as well as the community organisations that have helped make these celebrations a reality. They are: the Cabbage Tree Island community members, the Ballina Cabbage Tree Island Local AECG, Bunjum, Jali land council, Bullinah health service, Solid Mob; and Tweed, Byron and Ballina Community Transport—and many local businesses. Happy birthday, Cabbage Tree Island Public School!

The community of Evans Head was the first prawning port in the country. Family names such as Colless, Paddon, Norton, Williamson, Aleckson, Allen, Cribb, Elkerton, Sneesby and Saul are still found among the residents of Evans Head, a testimony to the industry they established. The old fishos who still live in Evans Head, such as Norm Colless and Willis Sneesby, remember the story of Rex Montford, the skipper and owner of Friendship R, which was the first commercial fishing boat to circumnavigate Australia. In 1964, Rex and another fisherman, Ken Messenger, travelled from Evans Head on the epic journey. They faced real and dangerous challenges, including crossing the Great Australian Bight. On the home stretch, Friendship R encountered the wildest seas near Byron Bay. Despite the danger, the crew braved the large waves and ensured they made it on time into Evans Head, where TV cameras waited for them. They had set the world record. Rex died in 2015 at the grand old age of 92, but he's remembered as part of the heritage of Evans Head.