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Byron Shire
December 6, 2022

Ballina highway opponents hope to make Burabi a household name

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A koala hugs a 'highway tree', surrounded by other native animals that would be impacted by a deviation of the Pacific Highway near Ballina. (artwork: Tim Roberts)
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By Darren Coyne

Residents opposed to the proposed deviation of the Pacific Highway through the Blackwall Range near Ballina are hoping to make Burabi a household name.

Burabi is the local Aboriginal name for koala, and the name will feature on t-shirts being designed by local artist Tim Roberts.

Blackwall Range resident Suzie Whiteman said she had lived in the area for 30 years and wanted to see koalas and other species protected.

‘I have been lucky to live with nature and share my world with our unique wildlife so I am well aware of the risk the proposed highway poses to the 38 endangered species I share my home with, especially our koala,’ she said.

‘As hard as it is, I can move on but what about the animals and birds ?

‘How will they survive?

To help raise awareness of their plight, and the Bundjalung  word for Koala – Burabi, the t-shirt will soon be available to show some of the local species that could lose their habitat.

‘I have joined forces with artist Tim Roberts and we are hoping some of the locals may want to sponsor this t-shirt.

‘The aim will be to sell as many as possible, at an affordable price.

‘As a community member I can not let the Burabi down, and want to get them back in our hearts,’ she said.

Ms Whiteman said other species would also be impacted by the highway.

‘It may seem like a small area that will be impacted, but where we live is a very special place, with  rare native mammals, native frogs,  snakes,  lizards,  butterflies,  plants and orchids.

‘As the anthem says,  “Our land abounds in nature’s gifts, of beauty rich and rare”.

‘As a landholder you feel you are responsible for this land  future generations.’

The t-shirts will be available at various outlets around the northern rivers area just after Easter.

Ms Whiteman said anyone wanting to make a donation to the cause should contact her at 0428 748 294 or at [email protected]

All money raised with go to the Ballina Save the Koalas group.

Artist Tim Roberts and Blackwall Range resident Suzie Whiteman work on a design for a fundraising t-shirt. (supplied)
Artist Tim Roberts and Blackwall Range resident Suzie Whiteman work on a design for a fundraising t-shirt. (supplied)



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  1. Thanks to Darren Coyne and the Echo for promoting community and environmental projects throughout the Northern Rivers ,the opportunity you provide is appreciated by all your readers – Thanks for keeping us all informed about whats happening in our region

  2. Thank you Suzie Whiteman and Tim Roberts for actively raising awareness of the issue that matters most here and always seems to be overlooked – LET’S CONSERVE WHAT WE HAVE LEFT – in this glorious land – let’s try and look a little further into the future and imagine what our local region may look like before its too late.


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