On the first day of Christmas - one shining Byron lighthouse
The Cape Byron Lighthouse was built in 1901, as the sign above its front door says, of pre-fabricated concrete blocks.
The lighthouse is these days one of the region's big tourist attractions, but even a century ago it was considered a plum posting for lighthouse keepers. Unlike many lighthouses, the one at Cape Byron was built on the mainland and relatively close to town, making it possible for the lighthouse keeper's children to go to school with the other Byron kids and leaving the family less reliant on the perilous delivery of supplies by boat.
The lighthouse's elevation meant it (and the people caring for it) was less exposed to the ocean than many others. It also means the lighthouse is a smaller building than many others, which would have to have been a blessing when tromping up and down its stairs.
You can find out more about the lighthouse here, or, better yet, go on one of the regular tours being held every day (except Christmas day) at the lighthouse over the school holidays. The tours run every 20 minutes between 10am and 3pm and give you a chance to see the facility for yourself while one of the lighthouse volunteers offers information about the history of the building. The tour finishes at the top of the lighthouse where you get to enjoy the best view across the bay available outside of a helicopter.
For more information about the tour, phone the lighthouse on (02) 6620 9300.
The other Northern Rivers Days of Christmas so far
- Two Cute Koalas
- Three Smiling Surfers
- Four Knitting Nannas
- Five Lovely Lanterns
- Six Skaters Skating
- Seven Savvy Students
- Eight Karters Karting
- Nine Precious Puddings
- Ten Friendly Farmers
- Eleven Nimble Nippers
- Twelve Blisstas Banging
Thanks to everyone who entered our competition to win an $800 Specsavers voucher for frames or prescription sunglasses.
The winner of the competition is Casino's Dee Hartin, who followers of our Faceboook page might be familiar with. Dee's a gifted amateur photographer and frequently shares some of her exceptional images on the page.
As it turns out, Dee's also got a bit of an ear for poetry and the funny side of Christmas.
Here is her version of the 12 days:
Twelve Shoppers shopping
Eleven Wrappers wrapping
Ten Parents sighing
Nine Reindeer flying
Eight Bells are ringing
Seven Lanterns swinging
Six Kids are Peeking ... and now
FIIIVVE PRESENTS ARE MISSINGGGG!!!!!
Four Kids in trouble
Three Drinks on the double
And a Gift made from an Aussie treeeeeeeeeee.
WE all adore our gorgeous koalas, but the volunteers from Friends of the Koala probably love these Aussie creatures more than most people.
It is a non-profit community group dedicated to conserving koalas on the Northern Rivers.
The volunteers operate a 24-hour rescue service for sick, injured and orphaned koalas, and they also run the Koala Care Centre on Rifle Range Road in Lismore.
A native plant nursery attached to the centre provides free koala food trees to local landholders.
If you see a sick or injured koala, phone 6622 1233.
THESE three surfers (from left) Shannon Mackie, Zac Wightman and Kye Somerville, have reason to smile?
Shannon, Zac and Kye are pictured on Seven Mile Beach at Lennox Head.
USING knitting as a "tool for non-violent form of political activism", the Knitting Nannas Against Gas are now regulars at anti-coal seam gas protests throughout the region.
One of their favourite haunts is the office of Lismore MP Thomas George.
The ladies said their knitting skills were "less important than the act of bearing witness while we knit".
"We usually knit in yellow and black to identify with Lock the Gate triangles that are mounted at the entrance to many properties," the nannas' website explains.
They also knit triangles that echo the Lock the Gate signs, as well as long lengths of knitting "which are thrown across gates and roads in imminent danger of invasion by drill rigs".
Five Lovely Lanterns
DECEMBER 19: THE Lantern Parade has really helped put Lismore on the map nationally.
Held during the winter solstice each year, the parade draws thousands of people to the streets of the city.
The lantern making workshop turns out works of art and the skills of the artisans are renowned locally and overseas.
And the lantern themselves seem to pop up everywhere. Anyone who has been to Bluesfest at Easter would rate the nightly lantern display as a festival highlight.
But schools also get to make lanterns and participate in the annual parade.
Six skaters skating
DECEMBER 18: ROLLER derby is a high-intensity contact sport with plenty of thrills and spills, and it seems we just can't get enough of it.
The Northern Rivers Roller Derby held plenty of "fresh meat" sign-ons throughout 2013.
It's a sport that continues to grow in popularity with women across the region.
But it's not all fun and games for the tough ladies in pink and black.
Pictured is the club's Kimmando Karnage (Kim McIntosh), showing off some impressive moves.
Seven Savvy Students
DECEMBER 17: THE clever senior students at Empire Vale Public School recently won the 2013 Best Newspaper Award at The Northern Star's Newspapers in Education Ceremony.
The combined Year 4, 5 and 6 class named their newspaper Empire Vale Unveiled, and discussed story ideas in a real newsroom environment.
The school's NiE champion, Karen Rantissi, sent in this photo of the "seven savvy students", saying they thought it would be fun to participate in The Northern Star's unique version of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Empire Vale Public School - which has just 41 students in total - is just one of our many fantastic schools on the Northern Rivers.
Eight Karters Karting
DECEMBER 16: THE revving of karts could be heard in North Lismore again this year with the Lismore Kart club continuing to grow in numbers.
It was a huge year for the club, hosting another successful Young Guns Titles in May and the Closed State Titles in July.
The future superstars of motor racing can be found at the track racing once a month, with plenty of action to be seen by with drivers aged seven and up.
Competition kicks off again in February at the North Lismore track. New members are always welcome, with details on how to join on their website at lismorekartclub.com.
Nine Precious Puddings
DECEMBER 14: WHO can resist a delicious Christmas pudding?
The Father Mac's Heavenly Pudding enterprise is run by the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary at Alstonville.
Proceeds from the pudding sales go towards supporting the activities of the parish, and to help other local and overseas charities.
Father Mac's Heavenly Puddings have been a festive tradition since 1981.
Father Darcy McCarthy, the first parish priest, started making the traditional Christmas puddings for a church cake stall.
Their popularity has grown over the years, and the puddings now take pride of place on many dining tables.
Visit fathermac.org.au or phone 6628 5474.
Ten Friendly Farmers
DECEMBER 13: TEN friendly farmers were mustered at the Lismore Saleyards this week to become part of The Northern Star's own version of the 12 Days of Christmas.
Farming and agriculture is an important part of life on the Northern Rivers, and we are renowned for industries such as dairy, tropical fruits, cattle, poultry, plantation forests and sugar cane.
And let's not forget the spectacle that is Beef Week.
Dairy co-operative Norco has been operating in the region for more than 115 years.
Eleven Nimble Nippers
DECEMBER 12: THESE are just some of the enthusiastic nippers from the Ballina Lighthouse and Lismore Surf Life Saving Club.
This year has been a big one for the club, which celebrated its 80th year.
After more than 10 years of lobbying and working out of shipping containers, the club finally moved into its new, state-of-the-art building at Lighthouse Beach in July this year.
The $5.8 million facility was funded by Ballina Shire Council, the Federal Government and the club.
Remember - always swim between the flags.
Twelve Blisstas Banging
DECEMBER 11: OVER the past decade, the Samba Blisstas have become as much a part of the culture of the Northern Rivers as hippies and dairy cows.
The group, which plays at most local festivals and big events - as well as a few small ones, is open to anyone. No previous musical experience or training required. Head over to the Blisstas' website for more info.