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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Promised Land

Latest News

Kinship Festival returns Saturday 25 May to Murwillumbah

The Kinship Festival – a free North Coast cultural festival led by First Nations people – will be held in Knox Park, Murwillumbah on Saturday, 25 May.

Other News

Kinship Festival returns Saturday 25 May to Murwillumbah

The Kinship Festival – a free North Coast cultural festival led by First Nations people – will be held in Knox Park, Murwillumbah on Saturday, 25 May.

Byron Rebels continue strong run in local rugby union

The Byron Shire Rebels put on 83 unanswered points against Lismore Rugby Club last weekend at Shultz Oval, capping...


The latest information supplied from Byron Shire’s Water and Recycling on future operational plans contains the term ‘renew’ numerous...

Posters gone

I am writing to bring attention to a growing issue in our community – the removal of community posters....

Fatal crash near Coffs

Three people have been involved in a horrifying crash today, leaving two dead and one in critical condition, police said. 

Outdoor pickleball courts for Alstonville

Alstonville now boasts tournament-standard pickleball courts that opened to an enthusiastic crowd and players earlier this month. The eight new...


John Campbell

When reduced to basic building blocks, all cinema (all art, you might say) is social commentary.

Few filmmakers, however, are as overt in stating a case as Gus Van Sant – Elephant (2003) and Milk (2008) got right in the face of gun culture and homophobia. In this he has tackled the red-hot topic of coal seam gas mining.

Matt Damon is Steve Butler, an energy company rep who, with fellow employee Sue Thomason (Frances McDormand), is buying up leases in a struggling farming community in the mid-west. What better actor to play the wholesome country boy who has arrived to save the battlers from financial ruin? Steve considers that clinging to the past and resisting progress is mere ‘delusional self-mythologising’. He believes in what he’s doing and Van Sant allows him to make cogent, reasonable arguments to support his and the big end of town’s position. This is the movie’s strength – that Steve, if not his bosses, is so upright, so genuine.

Docos, polemic in nature, preach to the converted (who often have their own entrenched prejudices), whereas dealing with an issue of critical importance via the means of traditional storytelling – with romance, conflict and identifiable characters – can convert the uncommitted and/or apathetic mob.

As well as it being stimulating and relevant, Van Sant has given us a fine entertainment, at once subversive, pugnacious and tender. Avarice is an unfair charge to make of a poor mother whose only hope of sending her child to college is to accept the company’s money, and Van Sant does well to stress this to those of us on our high horses.

The townsfolk will vote on whether they will acquiesce, but the ground starts to shift under Steve’s feet when the battle is joined by an environmental campaigner.

‘This is all we have’ is a message that is taking too long to sink in to our collective conscience – Van Sant’s wonderful movie will go some way to hurrying it up. And the sting in the tail is a beauty.

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St Helena Tunnel, Ewingsdale – changed overnight traffic conditions 

Essential maintenance at the St Helena Tunnel will be carried out overnight on the Pacific Motorway at Ewingsdale from Monday, 27 May.

First Nations job seekers in Casino foot in the door to career

Trying to find something you might be interested in doing is always a challenge and local Casino barber Michael Day has come on board to help Aboriginal job seekers the chance to kick start a career in the hair and beauty industry.

Primary care nurses supported in community

Health services, particularly GP services, have been stretched over recent years and new funding to support nurses and build their capability as primary care...

Goonellabah Skate Park overhaul to start next week

New ‘skate elements’ to be introduced have reportedly been designed by skatepark specialists Trinity Skateparks, with input from ‘local enthusiasts’.