Water doesnt dampen Northies love of home

Fifth generation Northie Nea Knapman is descended from ex-convict Michael John Jones, who built one of the first cedar houses in North Lismore in 1860.

Nea Knapman (nee Pestell) is a fifth generation Northie and reckons her old neighbourhood is the best place to live in Lismore, despite the fact it regularly goes under water.

In fact she reckons its the floods that build up the comradeship which makes the place so special.

And now theres a new book called Northies Memories which is filled with stories and photos from more than 40 past and present residents.

Nea said to become a Northie it wasnt about how long you had lived there although the newest resident to contribute to the book has been a resident for over 25 years.

Youre a Northie if you live there and appreciate the place, she said. And once you live there you become one, because its such a great place to live.

The book features many historic photos of people and local landmarks and of course, floods. The front cover shows a photo from the 1954 floods with residents in bathing suits standing on a partly-submerged Fawcetts Bridge with the Winsome Hotel in the background. Theres also a photo of one of the very first cedar houses in North Lismore Lockeil which was built by Neas great great grandfather.

She said the house is still standing in Bouyon Street next to Arthur Park, although it has been significantly modified. The building was well-known locally because it later became the maternity hospital and was where her great great grandmother Granny Brown worked as a midwife.

Nea said her family spent the 1945 floods in the ceiling of their house and said she was surprised to find out many others also had the same experience.

She said neighbours used to group together in the highest house during floods and play cards and cook together, and the get-togethers often continued even when the waters subsided.

A lot of the books contributors are now in their 80s or 90s and one had subsequently died since telling his story, so it was timely to be recording the personal histories now, Nea said.

Lismore City Council provided $2200 in funding so the book could be sold for just $10. Only 500 copies have been printed, with 200 already sold through pre-paid orders.

Northies Memories will be launched at the Italo Australia Club in North Lismore next Saturday, October 28, with morning tea from 9.30am-12.30pm. The cost for the morning tea is $6 and all Northies and their partners and friends are welcome. The book will be on sale at the launch or to pre-order a copy phone Nea on 6624 3894 or Helen on 6624 2233.

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