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Byron Shire
May 7, 2021

Lismore locals support Wytaliba fire victims

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Lismore locals are helping to organise a benefit gig for Wytaliba locals

A benefit for Wytaliba locals hit by fires will be held at the Station Hotel, South Lismore, on November 30.

The small village of Wytaliba was hardest hit by recent bushfires. In excess of 50 structures and two lives have been lost. Over half the community have no home. Most escaped the fires with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Lismore locals Jasmine, Robyn, Cat and Darren have described the call to help Wytaliba as one they just couldn’t push away. The gig on November 30 will be the first of six events aimed at raising funds for Wytaliba.

Jasmine Knight-Smith says, ‘the plan is to hold six benefit events over the next 12 months, with all the funds going directly to the Wytaliba community. I’ve been speaking to Wytaliba friends and they’re just so grateful, every little bit helps.’

Information about Wytaliba and upcoming events will be shared on the webpage www.wytalibalove.com.

Jasmine said that the webpage, at this stage was a work in progress. ‘Things will be added as the residence of Wytaliba are more able to share their stories and photos. Right now they’re just trying to find a place to sleep and some clothes for their kids.’

‘We’ve received so much support from local businesses, it’s overwhelming. NORPA, City Ssangyong, Pepper Tree Kitchen, Bohotobia, Harris Cycle, Café Cappello, Poletto’s Mechanical, BodyPeace Clothing, Barefoot Law, Brands Pharmacy, Ishka, Vintique, Traditional Medicinal, Music Bizarre and Megachoice just to name a few.’

There will be no cover charge, she says, just a request for a discretionary donation.
There will be raffles, a photo display of the property before and after the fire, stories of loss and survival and great music.
Jasmine says, ‘It’s a great line-up , with bands from a variety of genres. The headliner, Huckleberry Gin’s front man Simon Burton hails from Wytaliba.

The line up includes:

10.30pm Huckelberry Gin
9.15pm Babyfist
8.30pm Kazya K & Mikey Michaels 7:30pm Slug
5.45pm Mocri$ n Triple
4.30pm Trades Myth
3.30pm Matt n John

Jasmine adds, ‘I have a strong connection to Wytaliba – I grew up there and attended Wytaliba Public School.’

‘My childhood home was one of those lost in the fires. A house my parents built. The current owner Joe Borgia, has lost everything. Just unbelievable devastation. I had to help, not helping wasn’t an option.

‘And two lives lost, eccentric George Nole, who had worked for NASA on the Apollo Program and Vivian Chaplain who was just relentlessly wonderful – she died protecting the animals and home she loved.’

‘I’m really excited about this gig and particularly the photo display. The transformation of the property before the fire, it’s incredible, it just looks like a different place.’

Music promoter and musician Darren Bridge has been promoting music and playing up and down the east coast for over 20 years.

He says, ‘This was originally a punk music showcase gig but has evolved into something much more. We’ve added more diverse bands and the publicans and community have all gotten behind it to create a snowball effect. The Wytaliba community is such a unique and resilient one, I have so many friends and acquaintances with ties to it and I’ve felt for their heartbreak and loss. This is the perfect opportunity to band together and lend a helping hand. I’ll be running the live production and proudly MCing on the day.’

Local music lovers and event organisers Robyn Dein and Cat Reid say why they wanted to help:
Robyn Dein said, ‘Because it’s such a small community and so many of it’s people are beautiful souls.’

Cat Reid says, ‘Being a Red Raven mean hearing a call and endeavouring to answer it. People from Wytaliba are close to my heart, there was no question if I could help, it was just how.’

Station Hotel Manager Kim Barnes says, ‘We’re a community, a small community in South Lismore and we band together in times of need. The Station Hotel was happy to lend a hand.’

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