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Byron Shire
January 26, 2022

Compassion heals

Latest News

One death and 1,219 new COVID-19 cases in Northern Rivers

In the 24 hours to 8pm 25 January there was one death and 1,219 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWHD).

Other News

Biz step up to feed frontline staff

Local paramedics will be able to get free coffee and snacks at selected local cafes, as part of a major community effort to support frontline health workers during the ongoing and increasing COVID-19 outbreak.

COVID update for January 24

Dr Kerry Chant spoke to the media this morning with a COVID update saying that in terms of our hospitals, we've currently got 2,816 People in hospital including 196 People in ICU, of whom 69 are ventilated.

Storylines – Aboriginal Tent Embassy 1972–2022 – the power of patience

As the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy draws near, the attention of the nation is again being drawn to the lawns of Old Parliament House. However, this time the actions of the few do not encompass the views and needs of First Nations people.

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 26 January, 2022

There's still loads of stuff on in the Byron Shire and beyond

Kindness to animals recognised in Tweed Shire Australia Day awards

The care Amanda Philp has provided to numerous animals on land and from the sea has seen her recognised as Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year.

COVID-19 update: restrictions extended by a month

The State's COVID-19 restrictions have been extended for a month, as another 29 people with the virus passed away.

Jo Faith, Newtown

Thank you for publishing David Heilpern’s compassionate writing of the emotions he experienced when judging the death of baby who died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Thank you, David for embracing the grief-stricken First Nations parents. Human understanding, touch and love is so essential when facing such trauma.

A couple of decades back I was a teacher in NSW Prisons. I had been trained in the arts and still believe still that there is an artist that resides in the soul of humans. I designed a program called ‘Literacy in Action’ that was funded by TAFE. I set up an art table, created dramas from real stories of inmates, handed the video camera to anyone that wished to capture the stories and had a whiteboard to introduce literacy. Two of my most creative students were young First Nations youths. Indeed, if I am to share on a deep level I can say that I was the person being taught.

There was so much in-depth creative and sad interaction that I realised the inmates were deserving of a counsellor. I sought same from Corrective Services. I was told in no uncertain tones that my job ‘was to teach and not counsel’.

I loved my students but one day I came to work to learn that my most creative First Nations student had died on the weekend after ‘eating razor blades’. I hit brick walls every time I sought for more information on his death. Then the other First Nations student would stay close to me telling me that ‘he was going to die soon’. His eyes daily lost life. I tried again to get a counsellor – more brick walls. 

After three weeks I returned to work to learn that ‘he had died of a heart attack’. I sought explanation and was told that the Director of the Prison wished to speak to me. I was taken to his office. I was confronted with white supremicist authority. The Director was dressed in his full uniform with leather gloves; the uniform impeccable with silver buttons, the shoes with some sort of decorative feature, the head cap very ‘SS’. I felt as if I had been transported back to the Third Reich. This proved true. He told me to stop asking questions and to realise one thing only… I was ‘working in a Fascist regime. Just do my job and ask no questions’. His honesty flawed me.

How can we tolerate such tyranny and cruelty in any system? Was I naive? Maybe…. but the experience never left me – the two students daily speak ‘justice’ from my soul.


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Kindness to animals recognised in Tweed Shire Australia Day awards

The care Amanda Philp has provided to numerous animals on land and from the sea has seen her recognised as Tweed Shire Citizen of the Year.

What does Australia Day mean?

Another Australia Day. Another divisive polemic about the date, the day, and its meaning. Those who seek to change the date argue that 26 January signifies the beginning of Britain’s invasion of Australia and the violent expropriation of Aboriginal lands.

Man charged following pursuit – Far North Coast

A man has been charged with driving offences following a police pursuit in the state’s far north.

More government support needed for nurses

What would it take to keep our nurses and paramedics from resigning en masse as the current crisis in the NSW health care system worsens?