Christmas lights-out time

CHRISTMAS FOR SALE: Maree and Rob Motbey (at left) of West Ballina, won’t light up their house this Christmas, and are selling their decorations.
CHRISTMAS FOR SALE: Maree and Rob Motbey (at left) of West Ballina, won’t light up their house this Christmas, and are selling their decorations. Graham Broadhead Doug Eaton

Rob and Maree Motbey have made the sad decision to not light up their house this festive season.

And the 3.5m replica Westpac Life Saver Rescue that has adorned their roof each December for most of the past 12 years has been donated to the helicopter service for use at the Trinity Dr lights display at Goonellabah.

Rob and Maree have not only given plenty of joy to local families, they have collected close to $30,000 in donations for the helicopter and the Ballina State Emergency Service unit.

They decided not to light up this year because of ill health in the family.

And they'll miss it.

They've had their regulars, as seeing the lights has been a tradition for locals.

"The kids will suffer; they're the ones who are going to miss out," Maree said.

"We got involved for the kids."

After a few years and realising their display was popular, they decided to help the helicopter service.

Maree has been a volunteer at the helicopter's op shops, and Rob is a former tow truck driver who has seen his fair share of car accidents where the lifesaving service was required.

A few years later, they started rattling the donation buckets for the SES, too.

And volunteers from both organisations have helped.

"We're very happy with what we've done," Rob said.

And Maree was quick to chime in: "And we'd like to thank everyone for their support".

It was a big effort to set up the lights display.

Rob said he worked for a month putting it up then turned the lights on each night of December.

Packing up took a few more weeks.

That's all over now.

They just have the problem of getting rid of all their decorations...

Rob Motbey out front of last year's display.
Rob Motbey out front of last year's display. DOUG EATON

The big sale

  • Christmas will come early for others who like to decorate their homes as the Motbeys are selling everything.
  • They will hold a garage sale at their 8 Oakland Ave, West Ballina home today.
  • For sale will be a giant Santa, smaller decorations, cutouts of reindeers and 25,000 LED lights.


'Consider your fire plan': residents told to be prepared

'Consider your fire plan': residents told to be prepared

A total of 79 bush and grass fires burn across the state

Local Partners