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Byron Shire
February 26, 2021

New signs welcoming you to Birihn Country

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With one of the new Rappville signs Ian Thompson, Lismore City Council Sign Shop; Mayor Robert Mustow, Richmond Valley Council; Barbara Collins, Rappville Community Advisory Committee; Mayor Isaac Smith, Lismore City Council; and Pastor Peter Boughey, Keeping Our Freedom Youth Indigenous Organisation.

A bright spark after the recent tragic fires in Rappville, residents and visitors will be given a special welcome with new town signs installed at key entry points across the village.

The signs were designed and donated by Lismore City Council, through its sign shop, as a goodwill gesture following last year’s devastating bushfire. Richmond Valley Council’s Lines and Signs crew installed the posts in readiness of today’s unveiling.

Painting by local Aboriginal artist Lenny Hickling

The signs feature a specially-commissioned painting by local Aboriginal artist Lenny Hickling, and the word Birihn, which is the Aboriginal name for the village. An abstract cut timber log pays homage to one of the area’s key industries.

According to the current understanding of local Aboriginal history, the area around what is now known as Rappville is home to the Birihn people. For thousands of years, the Birihn area was thickly forested with large freshwater lakes, swamps and waterways. There were abundant fishing areas, as well as open plains for hunting. There were meeting places where tribal laws were practiced, and bora rings where traditional knowledge was passed down between generations.

Artist Lenny Hickling said as a proud Bundjalung man, this is what he wanted to capture in his painting.

Signs unveiled by Lismore and Richmond Valley mayors

Lismore City Council Mayor Isaac Smith was on hand with Richmond Valley Council Mayor Robert Mustow to unveil one of the signs near the town limits. Two identical signs are featured at the start of Rappville Road, just off the Summerland Way, and on Wyan Road, south of the Nandabah Bridge.

Thanking Lismore City Council on behalf of residents, Cr Mustow said with the bushfire recovery phase well underway it was time to turn our attention to beautifying the village and celebrating all the wonderful things about Rappville and surrounds.

He said the amenity of Rappville’s entrances was important to promoting town pride and a united identity.

‘The new entry signage is a great way to reflect the history of Rappville, and highlight the character and natural beauty of the unique local environment,’ said Cr Mustow.

Cr Smith said he was proud the Lismore City Council Sign Shop team took the opportunity to support the Rappville community by getting involved with the project.

He said the Lismore community swung into action at Christmas time, donating wonderful gifts to the many families across the region who had been hit hard by the bushfires, particularly those in neighbouring Rappville.

‘On behalf of the Lismore community, I hope you find the new signs inspirational, and we wish you all the very best on this long road to recovery,’ said Cr Smith.

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