Share your stories of the Wilsons River

Have you got a precious memory or special connection to the Wilsons River? Perhaps you swam there as a child or remember a time when the river hummed with boating activity?

If so, you can be part of a new project called Conversations by the River, which is being managed by Southern Cross University under the auspices of Lismore City Council, and is a key part of the Wilsons River Experience Walk Project.

The aim of the project is to celebrate, share and record stories about the river and its upstream tributaries to preserve and generate interest in local history. Anyone who thinks they might have a memory or story to share is invited to a special gathering on the riverbank this Friday, March 2. The event runs from 3-5.30pm near the boat ramp at Lismores Riverside Park and will have a social atmosphere with trips up the river courtesy of the SES and refreshments provided by indigenous caterers GunnaWannaBe.

Those with memorabilia and old photos can bring them along to be photographed or scanned by the Richmond River Historical Society research team and stories old or new can be taped and recorded for future generations.

One person taking part in the event is 77-year-old retired boat skipper Tom Kyle from Tregeagle, who has watched the river evolve for the best part of six decades.

Absolutely everything came by boat and the river was alive and busy all of the time, Kyle recalled. There was everything from cement, steel and timber for building to fabric, cosmetics, food, furniture and liquor. There were huge boats some up to 200 feet long that crossed the Ballina bar and came up river with freight.

Mr Kyle said he was delighted to be involved with the project and hopes others will join him on the day for a cuppa and a yak.

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