Political Evolution 2

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Gourmet's Guide to Lismore & District

Chapter 12

Political Evolution - 1930s

1930 NSW
1931 Federal

1932 NSW
1933 NSW

1934 Federal

Country Party Ascendancy - Part 2

1930 NSW

In late 1930 Premier Bavin again polled the State in a popularity contest. This time Mr Missingham had a genuine commie to contest, Mr W. Harkin/s, a Sydney apparatchik, leaving the Star searching for other appellations to pin to the endorsed local Labor candidate and Lang fan, Mr James Fredericks Jnr, Gundurimba born and Nimbin bred but now a school teacher of Numulgi and secretary of that district's PPU branch. He maintained that Harkins was a Nationalist Party plant, sent to Lismore by their Sydney executive. In any case Harkin only put in two appearances before scurrying back to the workers' paradise of Sydney. Anglican Fredericks was probably galvanised into political action by the cut in his salary, along with that of all public servants, which caused his colleagues in the Lismore District Branch of the Teachers Federation to become very agitated, (or as the Star sympathised, they are ...now kicking up a shindy just because they are getting a jolly Dutchman's rise by having their salaries increased backwards). He reformed the long-defunct Lismore branch of the ALP in May, just as the 44hr working week was abolished in favour of reversion to 48hrs.

Resurrection of the ALP branch, whose regular meetings were held at the Golden Globe Cafe, coincided with the 110 local men out of work getting unionised, enabling them to speak with one voice in lobbying the Council for relief work in lieu of food relief, and resolving that to be eligible for any such work the unemployed should have a minimum residence in town of 6mths, so precluding the many more unemployed who were continually passing through Lismore (and temporarily camping at the saleyards/showground where they were having a fine time tearing the place apart for firewood.) These latter blokes were monitored by Mr J. Welsh, 'the agent for the State Labour Exchange' who 'conducted the official unemployment bureau', who said that within the last 2 days ... he had dealt with 59 men, 32 single, 26 married, one widower, with a total of 49 dependents. At the same time the police said up to 60 applicants a day ... were imposing on the rationing system... and some had evidently intended to take up residence in Lismore, but a round up in the camps had cleared off this kind..., one of the camps being behind the Polychronis Dinkum Cafe in South Lismore near the Duck Pond where the council had spent a fair amount of money constructing dressing sheds and making the Duck Pond suitable for public bathing.... Now the dressing accommodation has been commandeered by some of the unemployed and women and children are afraid to use the sheds, which were all washed away in the record flood of Feb31. Proving you were bona fide unemployed on walkabout looking for work, and hence an entitlement to 'track rations', proved very tricky.

Three weeks later Mr Welsh advised that 150 local men were now out of work, but this was a slight reduction due to an outflux to Casino where 650 unemployed had gathered after Mr Buttenshaw, Minister for Railways, announced the reopening of the Casino-Bonalbo rail project, offering work for 200 men rationed at the rate of 24hrs a week each. Also on the agenda was the further downsizing of the South Lismore rail workshops and the transfer of employees to Casino, the curtailment of the North and South Lismore sewerage scheme, and the reduction of wages and the rationing of work for council employees. Two weeks after that, 21Jun30, the committee formed by citizens of goodwill to raise and distribute money and goods for necessitous cases, had registered 79 married men and 60 single men with a total of 130 dependents. Three weeks later the committee was dissolved due to loss-making functions and donations of food, clothing and firewood going out at a greater rate than the wherewithal was coming in. (At the same time Lawyer McIntosh Jnr convened the T.M. Hewitt Testimonial Fund, which had accumulated nearly £500 in donations by early September.)

At the wind-up meeting Mr Simpson, an unemployed representative on the committee, advised that there were a total of 481 men with dependents drawing ration tickets from the police, but that dozens of unemployed men had been refused rations by the Lismore police. In all cases the amount of rations had been reduced. Single men were getting rations to the value of 2s 1d a week, and it was impossible for any man to live on that... At this time ration orders to the value of £150 a month were going out. Committeeman Alderman White said he did not agree that the time had yet arrived when single men were entitled to relief in the Lismore district. Apart from the women and children he was opposed to the distribution of relief.... And a touch of 'blame the victim' started to creep in. (Amongst the unemployed single blokes were a number of farm lads brought to the district under the migration scheme - 'Dreadnought Boys' - who are now out of work.... Twelve months later the New Settlers League approached the PPU looking to place more of them, aged 17 to 20, with sympathetic dairy farmers, at which time there were already 250 scattered on farms around the Richmond-Tweed, 43 of whom were in the depressed Casino district.)

Towards the end of Jul30 the unemployed formed their own 'Lismore Unemployed Relief Committee', at which time they had 536 unemployed and dependents on the books. ... Our object is to distribute food, firewood, clothing, etc., to those in need of such, also we intend to establish a soup kitchen for the free distribution of a wholesome hot meal. We have been in communication with the Mayor and also the town clerk for official recognition and for permission to send out duly appointed collectors, but have been refused both requests.... We intend in the face of this opposition to carry on.... In late September the Ladies' Benevolent Society took up in a small way where the Community Chest Committee left off, running cake stalls and collecting clothing, and by early October had granted relief to 14 applicants. And in late October single blokes registered with the Labour Bureau won an entitlement to rations, generating an influx from Queensland.

The Unemployment Relief Act came into operation 1Jul30, with the money raised from a tax on wages to be distributed by a committee representative of employers and employees - one of each from the country and from the city, with the Ministers for Local Government, Labour, and the Treasurer, and an economic expert. Within a couple of days Colonel Bruxner, Minister for Local Government, informed Mr Missingham MLA that he had approved £500 to Lismore Council, which was supplemented by another £3708 in late August, most of it going on work at the aerodrome to qualify for the necessary license to operate commercially (which turned out to be a white elephant.) The relief workers hired were restricted to a maximum of 35hrs per week, but received a pro rata wage based on £4/2/6 for a 48hr week. By the end of Aug30 Mr Missingham had announced over £14,000 worth of unemployment relief grants around his Lismore electorate, with promises of much more as the election campaign got underway. And by early September the Lismore Labour Exchange had placed 66 of the 377 registered unemployed in rationed jobs created throughout Lismore and surrounds, notwithstanding that the surrounding shire councils had their own registers of unemployed, the largest group apparently being in the recently devalued Tintenbar Shire, where 62 were recorded by the end of July, while its neighbour, Ballina Municipality, had registered 88 (representing over 300 dependants) by early June.

Things were rapidly going from bad to worse and at the start of the auction the Star was perplexed to learn of the need to run a local Laborite against Mr Missingham in view of the latter's largesse, and said, perhaps with tongue-in-cheek, Is the reason the Bavin Government's unemployment tax on wages - the reverting to a 48 hour week - the cut in civil service salaries - reduction in basic wage - the rationing of work on the railways - or what? The Star started shaping the main election issue as raising a smile from the farmers: The interests of the man on the land have for long been the matter of paramount importance in the Richmond River district, and must continue to be while the prosperity of the area is dependent on primary production... and farmers would be unwise to forget that they have little in common with... Labor. Two days later the dagoes got a run in another editorial on the formation of the British Preference League in North Queensland: Public bodies in the Richmond River district of New South Wales have also advocated the principle... of Britishers getting first preference for jobs (after returned soldiers), thus ensuring the Greeks persevered with the increasingly tenuous café game.

The 48hr week whingers got no sympathy from the farmers, who work nearly double that time... all the year round under all climatic conditions. But rarely a word on the parlous state of butter passed the lips of any candidates, although Comrade Fredericks reckoned that the farmers, good unionists all, were a little inconsistent in complaining of a fixed basic wage for workers while at the same time fixing the price of butter. Mr L.T. MacInnes/McInnes, NSW Director of Dairying, who coined the term ‘Paterson’s Curse’ to describe the Butter Stabilization Scheme, also came to town, at which time the Richmond-Tweed was producing 47% of the State's butter; 23,000 tons of the stuff for 1929-30, the second highest production on record after 1924-25 (while the export price almost halved over the same period.) Whether he addressed any meetings is unknown as the Star never published any of his comments, whereas in times past it had given him space to spruik the greater merits of a State-based butter pooling scheme and priority to the home market. And confusing the punters in a convenient coincidence for the Country Party, if not deliberate 'Green/e tactics', were two regular letter writers, Mr James Fredericks, farmer of Caniaba, and Mr P. Fredericks, farmer of Nimbin, singing anti-Labor sentiments.

An entertaining feature of the Lismore debate was the appearance of Catholic Casino lawyer Mr J.J.W. Kissane, preaching the Labor gospel if unrighteousness had so triumphed that by a perversion of the Divine order of things St Michael were leading the Nationalists and Satan the Labour forces, he would, in those circumstances, unhesitatingly vote for Satan…. and adding … The jury lists are packed; a working man does not get a chance in Lismore to-day to be tried by men of his own class. Though practically every citizen of Lismore is entitled by law to a place on the jury list, the men for these lists are carefully selected by the Crown authorities… and you find jurymen prepared to allow a judge to bully them into a verdict. (He subsequently had an altercation with the Star on mischievous misreporting, relieving Bishop Carroll of the need to start excommunication proceedings.)

In any event, Labor Fredericks won the usual booths at North and South Lismore and came close in the town itself, scoring 2713 votes to Country Missingham’s 2792. But Mr Missingham, although disappointed in his big drop in urban popularity, came home with 62% of the vote overall, having won the farmers, the major beneficiaries of, but least contributors to, the mana falling onto the roads from the Unemployment Relief Fund. His naughty how-to-vote card, ‘If you do not vote preference as indicated above your vote will be informal and not counted, was probably an overkill. There were 13,049 on the roll, but a record number of absentee votes (1134), originating from 211 different polling places throughout the State, implying that many were travelling long distances on walkabout in a search for work. Postal votes came from all parts of Australia, but apparently Far North Queensland was the favoured bolt hole for locals. And locally the itinerants were catered for by the provision of over 2000 absentee voter forms at selected booths.

A week after the 25Oct30 election the Lismore Labour Exchange reported 400 locals registered as unemployed, now 'taking turns' for work on the relief projects. And a week after that Teacher Fredericks started whinging about the methods used in the late election... and... the underhand assertions which were made against me during the late campaign... particularly... the allegation that I used to belong to the Country Party... which contains such poor sportsmen as the majority of the Country Party members have over and over again proved themselves to be... and started legal action over Country Missingham's how-to-vote card, ('I have absolute evidence that those cards did influence people'), requiring the broke branch to go about raising £50 to lodge the court application.

This election also saw the appearance of the new Casino Electorate and a field of 9 candidates (after Communist Leak withdrew); 5 Country, 1 Endorsed Labor, 2 Independent Labor and 1 Independent Something. Casino, having the honour of the biggest unemployment pool in the region, failed to attract one person to a meeting called by the Mayor to form a similar group to Lismore's short-lived 'Community Chest Committee'. Such groups had been formed throughout the region, but Casino apparently had its own problems. In mid Jun30 the limit on the number of men approved for work on the Casino-Bonalbo line was raised to 300, but there are hundreds of men camped in and around Casino, altogether too many for requirements, and further arrivals will only augment an already congested labour market..., as hundreds of navvies were progressively laid off from the Kyogle-Brisbane line as the project neared completion. Nevertheless, Alderman Reid for the Country Party won 23% of the primary vote and 64% after distribution of preferences, taking the game from Labor Young, winner of the primary with 27%.

One of Casino's Independent Labor candidates was a disillusioned Country Party turncoat, Fred Crowther, a devout Methodist, an ex-farmer of Numulgi and recently prominent in PPU and CP affairs. In his sermon to the faithful he said It was true that he had been secretary of the Country Party (Lismore branch), but he had sent in his resignation because he could not follow Dr Page or support the legislation enacted during his regime…. He was one who had been a staunch advocate of the Paterson scheme – a purely voluntary scheme on the part of the dairyman to stabilise his product – but instead of being a benefit to the tenant farmer it had turned out to be the reverse, because at the end of his term tenders were called by the landlord to get the bit extra out of the property that the Paterson scheme brought about…. At this time figures bandied about guesstimated that up to 65% of dairy farmers were tenant or share farmers, most of whom were not members of the PPU and most of whom reckoned they were becoming 'serfs to the farmer', a lot of the latter being absentee landlords who made up a fair swag of the 50% of Norco shareholders deemed 'dry shareholders' (along with failed, retired or ex-landholders/farmers.) Crowther bombed out but stood as Endorsed Labor for Byron at the next election (when the share farmers were even more agitated over the landlord's share of the decreasing butter cheque.) He missed out again and subsequently became 'President of the Lismore Branch of the NSW Council Against War.'

In Byron Country Budd enjoys the distinction of being the only unopposed candidate in New South Wales... after Communist Haddow withdrew at the last moment. ...The electorate, of course, is a veritable Gibraltar for the Country Party.... (And thereafter, apart from Crowther in 1932 and further token efforts from Labor in 1935 and 1944, the lefties joined the Nationalists/Liberals in giving up on the Byronoids, notwithstanding the ambiguous stance of Mr Stuart and the following 'Independents'. Labor started recontesting in 1962 but the Countrioids/Nationals didn't surrender the seat until 1999, the year the electorate name changed to 'Tweed', having already morphed from 'Byron' to 'Murwillumbah' in 1988, the year the electorate of 'Ballina' was carved off and won by Don Page for the National Party.)

State-wide, Labor swept home with 55 seats, the Nationalists 23 and the Country Party 12. The Star, allegedly now with Nesbitt MLC and Alderman Eggins amongst its Directors, was grumpy and felt The people deserve the Government they vote for…and … It must be a changed Mr Lang now to deserve the support he has got.

[Presbyterian Harold Thorby, Minister for Agriculture and CP member for Castlereagh/Dubbo, lost his seat, and Teacher Dunn, Labor member for Mudgee, again became Head Farmer and was promptly invited to Lismore by Teacher Fredericks and Farmer Crowther to meet in conference the tenant and mortgaged dairy farmer; to receive first hand knowledge of the chaos under which both parties were carrying on; ...to stop the present trend of events caused by over capitalised land and rentals. (In 1907 Teacher Dunn's brother, Edward, was the first editor of the Lismore-based 'North Coast Daily News', started by a group of Catholic businessmen led by Joseph Bede Kelly, foundation Chairman of Norco and MLA for Tweed 1894-98, and Irishman Patrick McMahon, dubbed 'The Sugar King' of the Tweed and an unsuccessful candidate at various Tweed elections over the years. Anglican Dunn handed over to Catholic convert Robert Browne who was promptly promoted to command the good ship 'Northern Star' in 1911 and started steering to starboard. The Daily News sunk in 1914, at which time Catholic O'Halloran arrived in town to launch 'The Northern People' and immediately tacked to port. Edward Dunn was editor of the Lang-biased 'Labour Daily' when he died in 1932.)]


1931 Federal

Premier Lang inherited a poisoned chalice. Things accelerated from worse to worser and by the close of 1930 the Star was barking mad and baying for his blood, while the local Laborites and Countrioids began gearing up for an early Federal election.

The Federal Government started to fall apart in late Jan1931 when Joe Lyons, allegedly flirting with a sub-group of the All For Australia League, crossed the floor with 4 comrades to join the Nationalist Opposition, followed in early March by 6 NSW members who went to the cross benches as ‘Lang Labor’. Mr Lyons formed the United Australia Party and took over from Nationalist John Latham as the Leader of the Opposition in May, causing Dr Page to subsequently withdraw from the coalition and form the United Country Party, perhaps in part provoked by Billy Hughes being welcomed back to the fold and Senator Massy-Greene appointed to the shadow cabinet. And in Dec31 it was deja vue all over again for the Richmond punters when ‘Lang Labor’ voted with the UAP and UCP to bring down the Scullin Government. But in the meantime:

The Casino Country Party branch had been the first away in mid Jan31: Consequent upon the disturbed condition of the political atmosphere, the Casino branch of the Country Party which had lapsed into a comatose state for many months past, decided on Friday night to enter upon a campaign of activity forthwith… A few days later Dr Page, Lieutenant Green and Colonel Munro, general secretary of the NSW branch of the party, attended a meeting of the Richmond Electorate Council in Lismore, chaired by Mayor Tighe of Ballina, where they started preparing for a perceived imminent Federal election, and were again frothing at the mouth in a call for the secession of ‘New England’ from NSW. But the Star reckoned that Almost any gathering of men in Lismore discussing the economic situation is sure to speak of government by a Commission…, the initial aim of the fascist All For Australia League. ...As the head of such a body General Monash leaps immediately into the thoughts of most men.

Labor on the other hand was in a bit of disarray. By late Feb31 the Lismore branch had grown to a membership of 181 and had affiliated with the new Ballina branch, bringing total financial members to over 300. But in the debate to support the ‘Lang Plan’ for repudiation of loan repayments there were a number of resignations, including Vice President Eastment and Secretary Bondfield, the latter with hopes of being the endorsed candidate for the Federal election and running with Prime Minister Scullin’s less radical policies to stabilize the economy. The press secretary, James Fredericks' brother Clarrie, also resigned because of a mole in the ranks passing info on party meetings to the Northern Star (Thankfully, otherwise this story couldn’t be written.) And Mr Meyers/Myers was sprung as a communist while Mr Gleeson was branded a ‘white-washed Nationalist’, pointing the finger at President Fredericks and uttering I am a better Labour man than ever you were.... There were a few more lively exchanges and the meeting was closed, said the Star’s spy.

Amongst other things, the major local factor giving rise to all the agitation and early politicking was the new Lang taxation to relieve the huge rise in unemployment. All local work projects had dried up:

Messrs Missingham and Budd had cut the ribbon to open the Ballina-Booyong rail line in late September 1930. This on-again-off-again 5½yr project cost £412,000 to build 13 miles of track, the first sod turned in mid 1923 in the presence of the Deputy Premier of Queensland, W.N. Gillies, personally invited by the Deputy Mayor of Ballina, P.E. Tighe. Completion of the project saw a lot of the navvies go to Casino to find work on the Casino-Bonalbo line, while the remainder competed for roadwork on the unemployment relief projects around Tintenbar Shire and Ballina Municipality;
(At the same time the £21,505 Lismore-Ballina road was completed, eventually contributing to closure of the non-viable Ballina-Booyong rail link, which had its first reduction in service in Nov31 after it earned £3000 on running costs of £25,000 per year);
Also in late Sep30 VIPs from all over the place cut the ribbon to launch the single gauge Kyogle-Brisbane line. This 4yr project, a great engineering feat, had resulted in the expenditure of £4,420,000 (inclusive of the rebuild of portion of the Grafton-Kyogle line) and employed over 1500 people, many of whom drifted to Casino to join the queue for work on the Casino-Bonalbo line;
Competition for railway work increased the anti-dago sentiment, one bloke complaining that he had seen foreigners engaged over the heads of Australians and thought that the ‘white Australia’ policy was a farce when such a condition of affairs was allowed to exist… and a reflection on the authorities when men would be engaged over their heads who could not even speak English, most of whom appeared to be Maltese;
The non-viable Casino-Bonalbo project, started in Jul29 and temporarily
halted Apr-May30, was finally terminated in mid December, resulting in 300 more men joining the ‘calico township’ on Carrington Park at Casino, where the police were now writing ration orders to the tune of £1000 a month. (By late Jan31 the number on the ‘dole’ had broken the 1000 mark and the ration bill was now £1200 a month);
All ‘Missingham’ unemployment relief projects around the Richmond had been completed by December, even with each LGA rationing the money at the rate of ~£170/week. Upon taking command Premier Lang had diverted almost all unemployment tax money to Sydney-Newcastle projects, while all local overtures for more relief works were rejected;
The Star and the unemployed were screaming for work, not rations, answered with a Christmas gift from the Feds. In late Dec30 NSW won £194,000 as its share of the Federal Government unemployment relief grant, two thirds of which went on Sydney-Newcastle projects. After personal lobbying by Alderman White and Town Clerk Nelson, and introductions to appropriate Ministers/Departments by Missingham MLA, Lismore and Casino were allotted £500 each, while Ballina,
Coraki, Gundurimba, Terania, Tintenbar and Woodburn got to share £1050 between them. The money was all spent by the end of Jan31;
In the new year the 48hr working week was reduced to 44hr
s (except for rural employees) and the unemployment relief tax on wages was increased from 3d to 1/- in the £, generating a howl for the head of Premier Lang;
In early Feb31 came a record flood
, presenting Lismore alone with a damage/loss bill of £100,000, but no relief money from State coffers apart from the police being authorized to exceed their budget to provide food for necessitous cases;
Every cloud has a silver lining and the farmers
, mainly in the Kyogle district, were ecstatic as new green shots began appearing in the fields, encouraging them to snap up the unemployed at just below the new tax threshold of £2 a week, and increase production, paradoxically reducing their income by increasing the mountain of butter. A lot of these unemployed remained on the farms to add to the growing number of destitute share farmers;
Post flood the number of unemployed registered at the
Casino Labour Bureau dropped to 720, mainly as a result of an outflux to Lismore with the rumour of resumption of work on the sewerage scheme, although a lot were picked up to repair flood damage along the Kyogle-Brisbane rail line, while the Mayor said there were still over 1000 men, women and children on the ‘dole’. (But by early June numbers receiving sustenance had jumped to 1500, one third of whom were women and children, of whom 214 were living in tents at the main camp in Carrington Park with 700 men, while the remainder made their home under bridges and various digs on the outskirts of town. June saw a new record for dole payments of £1580, bringing the total for the 6mths to 30Jun31 to £8750. And by late July an influx of mainly transient young blokes aged 16 to 20, some of whom were from interstate, had built the number of unemployed men to 1200, prompting the Council to build a separate camp for local unemployed on the proposed aerodrome site.)

The sewerage scheme, started in early 1930, was Lismore’s first ‘informal’ unemployment relief scheme, the council insisting to the contractors that 85% of men employed should be locals. The £27,000 first stage, laying pipes in North and South Lismore, was completed by mid December, adding another 150 men to the dole queue because the desperate Department of Works hadn’t let contracts for the next phases. In the meantime the council was stuck with the interest bill on the loan, with no hope of recouping from ratepayers until connections were made to households. The council was already distressed with defaulting ratepayers, a big overdraft and no capacity to borrow, while staff who hadn’t been retrenched were on work rationing and reduced wages. In striking the rates for 1931 the Mayor said the council was 'sailing very close to the wind' with its decreased revenue (a projected loss of over £2000, but better situated than the other local Municipalities and Shires.) And a month later sold the properties of 17 defaulting ratepayers, mainly in distressed North Lismore. But ratepayer defaults continued and by Aug31 the revenue loss was £4000, followed a few months later by the new Lang legislation to exempt crown lands and church property from the imposition of rates, resulting in another £1000 knocked off the income.

Successful lobbying saw the Department of Works let a £36,639 tender in late March for completion of a modified sewerage scheme, immediately attracting another group to Lismore to swell the number of unemployed registered with the Labour Bureau to a record 963 (broken in early June when 1162 were on the books, 85% of whom were locals, and enjoying Premier Lang's new   allowance of up to 8/- a week for single blokes, a married couple 12/10d, with one child 19/-, three children 26/6d, ...increasing on a sliding scale to 49/- per week for a family with ten children, all of which increased the work-for-the-dole howl from the wounded tax payers and an increase in dole fraud.) During March Mr Welsh had handed registration tickets to 69 married and 51 single men, to whom 124 dependents look for support. He also advised them of new regulations from the State manager: …I desire to advise you that consideration should only be given to those bona fide local residents whose names have appeared on a State electoral roll for a period of at least 12 months. The term bona fide local resident may be defined as applying to any person who is a resident of the district for a period of three monthsBut it was academic anyway, as the only work available at this time was that created by the money still trickling in to councils for Main Roads Board contracts, notwithstanding that most councils were complaining of the reduced subsidy from the MRB and its preference for South Coast road projects (while the cost-conscious Kyogle Shire engineer reckoned that Graders were far more efficient and serviceable than horses and drays and men with picks and shovels, the latter later to become his major workforce as the work relief schemes got underway and Kyogle benefited from the largest road network programme in the region.)

Other big construction projects completed in early 1931 and adding workers to the dole queue were: the £52,000 Woodlawn College, basically completed by Oct30 but opened for business in Feb31 at the same time as the official opening of the £20,000 Rural School additions; the £60,000 Norco factory, also practically finished by Oct30 but opened in Jul31; and the £12,000 Commonwealth Bank building opened in Sep31. Disasters included AGR’s giant Department Store on the river side of Molesworth Street next to the Ryan Hotel, which went up in flames in late Nov30 and put the remaining 50 employees out of work. (Numbers already had been depleted in early 1930 with the introduction of a self-service grocery department, a first for Lismore.) But they were back in business shortly afterwards, at the expense of the employees of The New Firm, when AGRs (A.G. Robertson) acquired the troubled Department Store of Davis Bros & Burgess on the corner of Molesworth and Magellan and gave it a makeover with the approval of Landlord Nesbitt MLC. (In early Oct31 McDermott's Department Store, the major contractor for redeeming food coupons, went up in smoke, putting another 40 employees on the dole - although they quickly established a scaled-back operation in the partially damaged building next door, the ex-home of Moneysavers' Department Store, which had shut its doors a couple of months earlier.)

By early March Lismore’s 893 unemployed (600 of whom were married men with dependants) were camping around a number of locations. Amongst other digs there were 60 on the Marist Brothers sporting fields at Coleman’s Point where 20 found shelter in an old shed and leaving the remainder sleeping under trees without covering, 30 at the Council saleyards sleeping in the pigsties, and 20 in a partly enclosed shed at the old Government wharf, and They are living under conditions 100 per cent worse than those of the aborigines at North Lismore, who at least had a house. (Adding to the Lismore anguish were the aborigines seeking integration when they started to drift in from outlying reserves to North Lismore, where 120 had congregated by mid 1930. Lismore is 'our country' they proclaimed, answered with segregation at the new Tuncester/Cubawee Reserve in Jun31.)  Unlike Casino, Lismore had no 'officially designated' camp for the unemployed until mid April when the Council made Albert Park available and St Vincent de Paul built barracks and other infrastructure, semi-completed in late April just as another big flood arrived to again wash the unemployed, aborigines and citizens from their camps and houses.

The political agitation came to a head in early Mar31 when the non-political PPU and Chamber of Commerce initiated a protest meeting over the relief tax. Scottish Mayor Ross chaired the meeting, which saw over 700 people crowding into the Richmond Hall while at least 200 others outside cheered enthusiastically, when it was resolved That, as both the Federal and State Governments continue to ignore in their legislation the wishes of the country people, as expressed by the people and their direct representatives in Parliament, this meeting calls on all town and shire councils to convene meetings to have a petition signed and addressed to the Governor-General of Australia and the Governor of New South Wales to use their prerogatives and dissolve the present Parliaments. The Star branded the meeting and resolution ‘historic.’ By mid March 300 municipalities and shires had received a copy of the draft petition, under a covering letter signed by the Mayor of Lismore, the President of Gundurimba Shire, President of the Lismore Chamber of Commerce, and President of the Richmond River Council of the PPU. And by early April a heap of local Lismoreiotes had signed the petition following another huge meeting that was characterized by patriotic fervour after Mr W.F. Oakes and other speakers against repudiation denounced the Premier. A Labor Party speaker, 77yr old Anglican Englishman Thomas Winterton, a prominent conscriptionist in Lismore's WW1 Win-the-War League, tried to get a word in but halfway through his speech the Mayor ruled his amendment lost, generating a demonstration from a portion of the gathering.... Governor Game acknowledged receipt of the petition in late April, stating he would give his earnest consideration to the proposal.

Also in early March Richmond was agog when the Star reported the amazing gathering of 8000 farmers at Wagga calling for the replacement of State parliaments with provincial councils and threatening secession of Riverina. The price they received for their fruit had halved in 12mths. Green MHR had to work like the clappers to hose down local meetings called to recruit for the Riverina Movement and the All For Australia League, but being told to nick off at Kyogle where His criticism was strongly resented by Mr R.E. Alcorn and other speakers, who dealt trenchantly with Mr Green. (A month earlier a meeting convened by Methodist Alcorn, a director of Norco, past president of the Kyogle Shire and now a landlord with his property Omagh in the hands of share farmers, had rejected a request to sign up with the Country Party's New State Movement, instead opting to join up with the movement praying for the dissolution of Parliament.... Conversely, a little later their neighbouring Tweed Shireites demonstrated a more loyal Country Party following; new branches favouring the New State Movement being formed all over the place, probably influenced by convening President Marks of the Tweed Shire Council, who reckoned that the North Coast would never be able to pay its way while it was governed from Sydney, ably assisted by party organiser E.E. Craig, whose skills so impressed Mr Oakes of Lismore that he recruited him into the rival United North Coast Movement after the election resulted in dissolution of the coalition. At a meeting of the NCUM executive in early Feb32 the adaptable Mr E. E. Craig said the country was shocked at the attitude of Dr Page and Senator Hardy... and a resolution was carried condemning the disloyalty of Dr Earle Page and Senator Hardy to the United Australia Party.)

In early May31 State firemen Bruxner, Reid and Missingham arrived to build firebreaks, particularly around the recalcitrant Kyoglearians, describing as shameful the criticisms of Dr Page after his patriotic service to the Commonwealth.  Colonel Bruxner emphasised the danger in a time of political upheaval of the electors stampeding to overthrow the present reliable representatives in favour of new men.... But, alas, Kyogle remained cynical of the Countriotes' solutions to the mess, typified by a letter writer: As one who listened  ...I was greatly disappointed to find that the whole of their speeches consisted of destructive criticism... and they... offered not a single constructive suggestion to show how the State is to regain its former prosperity.... I have been a member of the Country Party since it was formed... but... Abusing the AFA and Riverina movements... and weaving a lot of fanciful pictures about a 'Utopian State' in the North is not going to go down with the electors.... Dr Page and the Countriotes saw Charles Hardy, instigator of the Riverina movement, as a serious rival for rural leadership and, being cunning operators, subsequently bought him off with an offer of chairmanship of the United Country Movement and a seat in the Senate. (Kyogle always was and remained a bit out of step with the rest of the region.)

In late April the State Savings Bank collapsed and the local branch shut its doors, leaving a heap of angry depositors, inclusive of businesses, councils and organisations/institutions (like the CWA and the hospital), and the NSW economy took another nosedive. At the same time the fascist ‘New Guard’ started to flex its pecs and the socialist ‘Australian Labour Army’ stepped up recruiting. (Across New South Wales there was much huffing and puffing and protestations of bravado from the labour movement. The schoolteacher secretary of the Lismore branch of the ALP spoke for many when he informed Chief Secretary Gosling: "As an ex Sgt of the A.I.F., I, for one, am prepared to fight for our Government if necessary ... The swashbucklers need a severe lesson before they plunge the State into bloodshed." ...wrote Andrew Moore in his article ‘The New Guard and the Labour Movement, 1931-35’.) In August the struggling Primary Producers Bank formally went belly up, leaving many distressed farmers and forcing the mortgaged Lismore Turf Club into private hands. (The Lismore branch of the PPB was the first in NSW, opened in 1922 in the new Northern Star building with Messrs J.J. Hayter, Frank H. Bartlett and John T. Whipps as Directors/Trustees.)

By August a touch of hip pocket and compassion fatigue started to overtake the Limoreiotes and Casinorians. During a Lismore council discussion on conditions at Albert Park, Alderman White said it is a big mistake to concentrate a body of men in the one place, “with nothing to do but hatch plots.” The council should not grant the light (£18), he said, until the unemployed did the fencing. Such places were nothing but Communist sources. At Casino Communist literature was being distributed. He did not know much about the Lismore men, but the open boast was made that they would flood the next municipal council. The ALP and the RSL protested to council, the latter pointing out that 25 returned soldiers, ranking from a second Lieutenant to a private, were ensconced at Albert Park and had already demonstrated quid pro quo by offering to cut firewood for the hospital and to work for clothing, while the Unemployed Camp Committee pointed out that St Vinnies had spent about £140 on the buildings while the council had done nothing. Alderman White said “I have nothing to withdraw and nothing to apologise for. I said it in cold blood, because it needed saying, and am going to keep on so long as I live,” …The question is not what will we do with the unemployed, but what will the unemployed do with us... at the Council elections in December. And the unemployed said we won’t build the fence and get stuffed about the electric lighting. (Anglican Alderman White died mid Jul32 and the Star eulogised that ...fear of offending never made him hesitate to express an opinion.)

At Casino the ratepayers were haemorrhaging money at the rate of £200 a year supporting the unemployed camps, in addition to the individual cost to a section of the community for the provision of milk, vegetables, and clothing, etc. To this must be added the cost of hospital treatment and ambulance attendances (and 3 suicides), all of which have created a drain on the resources of the community. And as all pleas to the Government for maintenance assistance had fallen on deaf ears and the unemployed refused to meet a levy of 6d each per week to assist (except for the campers near the showground), council decided to disband the Carrington Park and Hartley Street camps and deposit all single blokes at the cattle market site, where there was water and sanitation laid on, and all families to the new aerodrome site. Upon completion of removal to the other camping areas, no additions will be permitted to the Carrington Park community…and…the police be requested to co-operate with the council’s officers in preventing camping in the vicinity of bridges. The big logistics exercise was completed by late October, at which time the number of registered unemployed had dropped to 872 (inclusive of 16 females), while the dole bill for September had set a new record of 3451 food coupons issued at a cost of £2690. Casino had sustained more than its fair share of unemployed because of false rumour after false rumour of an imminent restart of railway construction.

[Similar figures are unavailable for Lismore as Mr Welsh's office and all his records went up in flames in October. But Lismore peaked at much the same time and thereafter there was a steady decline in both places, probably mainly due to rumours of work on the hydroelectric scheme, just confirmed with the signing of the agreement between Lismore Municipal Council and the Clarence River County Council, the latter estimating the initial construction phase would employ 400 men. And in early November Bishop Carroll laid the foundation stone to launch the £22,000 St Vincent's Hospital, bringing it forward because ...We were anxious to release the £13,000 in hand to give employment in this time of slackness.... And towards Christmas a few itinerants probably went home to see the family, while others went surfing and fishing: There has been a steady increase in the dole figures at Ballina for some weeks, demonstrating that while the inland towns are showing decreases, the unemployed are journeying to the seaside.... By early Jan32 only 274 unemployed had rolled up at Mr Welsh's relocated Lismore Labour Exchange to fill out new registration forms, 83% of whom were locals (167 married with 458 dependents, 50 single blokes, 3 women and 10 widowers), but thereafter increased, while Casino continued to fall.]

Also by early Aug31 the AFAL was sorting itself out and was seeking to unite disparate groups under one movement and back candidates unaffiliated with any party, while the agenda now included similar ‘provincial council’ aims to the original Riverina Movement demands. Charles Hardy was well on track with his job for the Country Party in gathering the four separatist movements, New England, Western, Monaro-South Coast and the Riverina, under the umbrella of the United Country Movement. But in late September the recalcitrant farmers of the Brunswick, mainly those from the PPU's rival, the Dairy Farmers' Society, formed the United North Coast Movement, without any clear agenda other than to see the backs of Lieutenant Green and the dictatorial Sydney Executive, but evolving with a lean towards 'provincial councils' rather than separate States. The United Country Party’s heavy cavalry arrived at the gallop – the UNCM represents disruption, disintegration, division and weakened efforts. There is absolutely no room for this new movement - but the stubborn Brunswegians wouldn’t buckle (although it seems there was dissention within the ranks, thwarting the ambitions of Alderman Chew of Mullum to run as a candidate.) The UNCM was subsequently hijacked by Nationalist Oakes of Lismore.

In early December came the council elections, now with provision for 'ticket' voting. The two 'Lang Labor' candidates, Staff Sergeant-Major Thomas Winterton, an earlier Independent candidate for Byron (and father of Lance Corporal Thomas Percy, President of the RSL, member of the Richmond Electorate Council of the Country Party and a great fan of Lt Green), and Electrician Myers, who had a hard time convincing people he wasn't a communist, were introduced to the punters at a rally following a diatribe against the Northern Star by their campaign manager, Comrade Fredericks. ...The gathering was not impressed with what the Labour exponents had to say, a fact recognised by Mr Fredericks when he once or twice addressed the gathering as ladies and gentlemen and others. Fredericks had been a tad upset over the Star's editorials which, apart from branding them representatives of communism and Labour extremism, and deploring the entry of politics into council elections, acted as the sentinel for the interests of the municipality in punching out its own political ticket that endorsed all the blokes listed on Country Party-biased ticket of the Citizens Municipal Election Committee. The Langites, together with John Welsh of the Labour Exchange standing independently, ran last in a field of 21, the fear of the unemployed happy campers swamping the voting never eventuating. There were 1736 ratepayers amongst the 4049 electors who had bothered to list on the Municipal roll, 47.5% of whom turned up to vote.

[The new Mayor, Wesleyan Methodist E.J. Eggins, an ex-banana grower of Billinudgel, brother of the Mayor of Grafton and cousin of Methodist Dr Page, stated he was the first non-Presbyterian ‘chief citizen’ in 15yrs. He was anointed as a Country Party MLC 1940-49 and MHR for Lyne (Kempsey/Taree/etc) 1949-52. (And by the bye, the Eggins family was a major shareholder in Grafton's Daily Examiner - acquired by Dr Page and a bunch of mates in 1915. By the time it became a wholly owned subsidiary of Northern Star Holdings in 1977 E.J.'s brother, Bertie Clarence Eggins, a Country candidate for Clarence in 1935, had been a director and chairman for 37yrs.) And keeping it all in the family, E.J.'s partner in a dairy farm at Bexhill, Alderman William Walmsley, the brother-in-law of the next Mayor, William Frith, both of Northern Ireland Presbyterian extraction, served as a Country MLC 1952-64. Upon farewell of Auctioneer Frith to State parliament in 1933 Surveyor Hosie was elected Mayor, apparently the first Catholic to fill the position since J.B. Carlton in 1911, and at the Council by-election Presbyterian Real Estate Agent Selwood comprehensively trounced Presbyterian Lawyer McKenzie attempting a comeback. (Mayor Hosie's elevation resulted in Bishop Carroll paying many compliments to the good work of the Council - the duties of the mayoral office were being worthily and successfully discharged by the present occupant..., who had pursued more grants and loans for unemployment relief work and earned Lismore the distinction of being the first municipality outside Sydney to sign up for the work-for-the dole scheme, which involved payment for work done rather than food relief. Surveyor Hosie had arrived in town in 1919 to take over the business of Catholic surveyor Kelly, earlier MLA for Tweed, who had completed the work of surveyor Peppercorn in laying out the village of Lismore in 1879, the year municipality came into being.)]

Two weeks later there was a merry Christmas election when Lt Green entertained four guests - three Country and one Labor. The uncharitable Star said that In 1929 ...13,000 voters agreed that Mr Gibson would more adequately represent them. …and the polling will prove the increasing dissatisfaction with the sitting member. …The ‘Star’ has no complaint against Mr Green’s two new Country party opponents, but knowing the importance of securing adequate representation, again supports Mr Gibson, now President of the Lismore branch of the Richmond PPU. And naturally don’t even think about Labor. And again Mr Hayter was forced to declare that Norco is absolutely non-political and is not financing any candidate, while a Tenant Farmers' Defence Association attempted to get off the ground and put tenant/share farmers onto the PPU boards, which were wholly made up of landlords/farm owners. And the Green camp again gave Mayor Tighe's earlier Labor sympathies a run along with Auctioneer Gibson’s military record, while all of them painted Teacher Fredericks into the Bolshevik's corner.

And again Lieutenant Green defied rumours of his imminent death and, with Dr Page's endorsement, arose with 33% of the primary vote, but getting a fright when 70% of Sergeant Fredericks' preferences went to Gibson, narrowing his winning margin to 331 votes over Gibson (20,559/20,228). Country Gibson won 25% primary (and dominated at Kyogle), Labor Fredericks 19.3%, Country Tighe (winning Ballina, Coraki and Woodburn) 13.4%, Country Greening (a Bruxner mate from Glen Innes) 3.2%, and Mr Informal 6.1%. Casino again returned to the Labor camp, otherwise Green marginally took just over half of the rest of the subdivisions, including Mullum and Lismore (and Tenterfield where the formation of a Scullin-leaning ALP branch in Mar31 didn't help - the Railway Department, once the biggest employer in Tenterfield, still went ahead and downgraded the place after the opening of the line through Kyogle - perhaps implying that if Comrade Fredericks hadn't run with the Lang sack of solutions the result would've been much the same? Tenterfield was in a spot of bother - from 1929, the year the Council was sacked and the Town Clerk arrested, many started flocking to the dairy industry as a means of buying a job, resulting in a 60% increase in the number of suppliers to the local butter factory by 1933, a concomitant 26% increase in production and a fall in the farmers' average gross income from £201 to £86pa.)

The Richmond's share of Premier Lang's Christmas gift of £150,000 for relief works arrived too late to bring any voter gratitude. Lismore and Casino won £100 each, while Coraki, Gundurimba and Kyogle shared £150. Ballina, Terania, Tomki and Woodburn are mysteries, but Tintenbar, the brokest of the Richmond LGAs, definitely missed out (as did broke Byron Shire). Casino gave 45 men 2 days work gravelling roads, while Lismore Council stretched it out with a matching £50 and employed 60 men cleaning drains, 90% of whom were married locals whose children were given a party by the Salvos.

The Star reckoned the declaration of the poll was chiefly remarkable for the sportsmanlike spirit shown by defeated candidates... after Green MHR remarked that this election had not been clean.... Comrade Fredericks was proud of the vote he had polled in the conservative constituency of Richmond, especially in view of the scurrilous statements... branding him a communist (expounded on in follow-up letters.) For the Senate Charles Hardy scored 39% of the Richmond vote, ahead of Massy-Greene with 21.7%. Only 2 other candidates of the field of 13 came in ahead of Mr Informal on 9.7%.

Nationally, a landslide gave the UAP 40 seats and the UCP 16, while the ALP was reduced to a rump of 15 seats (and 5 Independents had fun taunting them all.) Prime Minister Lyons decided to govern in his own right and Dr Page and crew had to sit on the cross benches. Senator Massy-Greene became assistant Treasurer to Lyons but resigned in ill-health after the Oct1933 budget, 11mths before the punters again went to the polls.

[And amongst the gloom some humour when The Rev Dean Hennessy branded Green MHR a sectarian during a speech at St Carthage's Catholic school. Protestant Oakes leaped to the Lieutenant's defence: I am not a supporter of Roland Green, I disagree with his politics and his party, and I have never given him a vote, but I like fair play..., begging the unthinkable; Did W.F. (Walter Frank) vote Labor? - and roll in his grave in 1944 when his son, Lawyer Warren Frank, Mayor of Lismore 1939-40, stood as 'Lang Labor' against auctioneer William Frith, the sitting Country Party member and Mayoral successor to produce merchant Jim Eggins in 1933? And commiserate with the said Country MLC and MHR Eggins when they looked down upon his son, Dr Barrie James Eggins, standing as Endorsed Labor against the Country MLA for Lismore, Bruce Duncan, a wonderful man and genuine farmer for a change, in 1968? (Lawyer Oakes was probably lead astray when he spent 3yrs working for Bolshevik Advocate Kissane in Casino prior to he and his brother opening a legal office in the McIntosh Chambers in Lismore in mid 1934.)]

1932 NSW

Five months later Premier Lang was sacked by the Governor (13May32) and the mob was requested to revisit its 1930 ruling. Unemployment was rampant and thousands destitute, with the resurrected local Labour Exchange again showing a rising rate of registrations: The Lismore Labour Bureau has registered 650 genuinely unemployed men, many of whom were one time the sole supporters of large families..., but work relief money was about to start flowing. The farmers were further down the poverty road (so they said, and have always said), albeit scraping by with subsistence living as usual, but cheap loans were on the way. Norco was paying its suppliers an average monthly rate of 10.87d/lb of butter produced from cream supplied, the lowest return since before the war. It continued to fall to a record low of 8.07d in 1934.

This time Sergeant Fredericks, still president of the Lismore branch of the ALP, stood in Casino, while his vice-president, Digger Charles Taylor M.M., was given a run in Lismore, standing as a 'Lang Labor' candidate and whinging that certain local businessmen were members of the New Guard (as was Dr Page briefly, according to rumours.) The fascist New Guard, which has a worthy spirit behind it commended the Star, had got off the ground in late 1931 when the local organiser, Major Carter of Goolmangar, stepped up his recruiting drive. By the time of the election the Lismore branch had built to almost 700 members under the leadership of Colonel Board, President of the Chamber of Commerce and the region’s leading architect. [Another prominent New Guarder was ex-Mayor Scotsman Ross, who initiated a collection to fund the court case of Captain de Groot, of Harbour Bridge ribbon-cutting fame, which turned out to be an overkill as the fine was only £5 with £1 costs. The foundation Mayor of Murbah, Peter Street, now a Lismore Lawyer, was also active, as was Colonel Hindmarsh, Commander of the 15th Light Horse and allegedly a Director of Northern Star Ltd. Post election triumph the New Guard Troop, organised into 'Units', was still kept on alert because ...the snake of communism was only lying dormant..., at which time RSL membership peaked at a surprisingly low 170 (but 2yrs later boasted it was the 4th largest branch in the State with 230 members?)]

Mr Missingham, in ill health, reappeared under the banner of the United Country Party when the suitability of the Countrioids to continue to represent the best interests of the region was being challenged by an emerging underground army of old Nationalists. These blokes desired to break the ‘free run’ pact with an attempt to form a branch of the UAP and enter a competitor, a proposal heavily criticized by the Star, which now irrevocably had completed its turnaround, pleasing Presbyterian A.D. McLean, Chairman of Northern Star Ltd, President of the Lismore Retailer's Association, a committeeman with the Lismore branch of the UCP, and later vice President of the Lismore branch of the UCM.

The local branch of the UAP started to evolve a week after the Federal election when the Brunswick's North Coast United Movement held a meeting in Lismore, chaired by Farmer Whipps of Alstonville, a member of the Dairy Farmers' Society. Although the gathering was mostly farmers, Mr W.F. Oakes, former President of the Lismore branch of the Nationalist Party, was an attendee and informed them all that the UCP had won through default, because there was nothing better offering.... Followed by a letter barrage: The NSW section of the Country party is decadent and worn out..., and using such tactics as distortion, subtle inference, half truths, misrepresentation and political trickery.... Then came a recruiting campaign: Farmers - Wake Up! 150 Dairy Farmers have already joined the Lismore branch of the North Coast United Movement, and will assist in securing 1/2d a lb as the lowest price farmers shall receive for their butter. Farmers are now working for almost nothing.... Subsequent meetings were a shambles as the PPU, now with Country Gibson occupying the Richmond President's saddle, disrupted proceedings and urged sticking with the voluntary Paterson Scheme, while the NCUM, still predominately DFS members but with an increasing number of ex-Nationalists, wanted to run with Teacher Dunn's Marketing Act, a compulsory pooling scheme similar to that almost endorsed in late 1928 and based on that initiated by Labor in Queensland, where the dairy farmers were still consistently getting 2d/lb of butter more than their NSW comrades.

By the time of the election campaign the NCUM was still trying to sort itself out, still only had about 200 financial members, still mainly from around Lismore and Mullumbimby, and still defiant of the ‘United Country Movement’ with far more branches around the region flogging the UCP manifesto. A few weeks out from polling day they held a meeting and voted on a motion that in the cause of unity, the Lismore branch of the United North Coast Movement becomes a branch of the United Australia party movement. But Mr Thyer, local organiser for the UCM, killed the motion by swaying a larger block of the UCP-leaning members of the NCUM, adding that he was vexed to learn at least one gentleman so lost his mental balance that he referred to a prominent supporter of the United Country Party as a ------- fool.

With nowhere to go Presbyterian Oakes, also prominent in the New Guard, pleaded to the Star: We in this electorate who are believers in a United Australia policy (and there are thousands of us), ask you, Mr Editor, to for goodness sake give us a fair deal in the country and allow our party to grow as the country people want it to grow. We are sick of the disunion that the UCP (which does not represent the majority of the country interests) is trying to create, and consider you have quite misjudged the position in referring to this as a definitely Country Party electorate. …and although I believe and hope that our sitting member (Mr Missingham), will hold his seat in the face of any opposition that may arise, it would be his own honest personality that would carry him through and not the political claptrap of his party, which is doing his cause quite a bit of damage. Were he a member of the UAP, as he ought to be, his would be a life seat…He also reckoned the UCP were stemming the tide of United Australia with a campaign of pin pricks, abuse, and misrepresentationas in the days of Massy-Greene.

But the Star was unrepentant and gave the UCP plenty of coverage in its campaign against the 'political pirates for the Lismore seat,' eventually forcing the rebels to withdraw from the race after a few nasty slanders. The movement subsequently collapsed, 'wiping out a political excrescence' said potty trained Editor Peek, but they may have got somewhere if they'd been better organised.

Engineer Oakes gave a parting shot: Definitely, Mr Editor, the UCP do not play the game. Thousands in this electorate recognise that as a fact. Not least of their faults are narrowness of vision in their ability to appreciate disinterested service, by those who do not see eye to eye with them; and their fatal habit of trying to use their own parochial bushel to measure up the other fellow’s corn: both stand out as measures of a mentality that does not appeal to us all.... but I will do my best to help Mr Missingham

The electorate was also heavily lobbied by the Feds, Senator Hardy, President of the United Country Movement, having a triumphal march through the region, accompanied by Digger Green MHR (and the shadowy Major Carter), and given civic receptions in Lismore and most other towns. He saidIf Australia was to become an industrial nation it would mean the end of the man on the land and every country town, in an address on high tariffs protecting secondary industry but leading to high costs for the primary producers (although not a word on high tariffs protecting the butter makers from the New Zealand invasion.) The ‘us and them’ argument was again prominent on the agenda …At present the country representatives are like a voice in the wilderness against city interests… with calls for regional secession from NSW again reaching fever pitch. A week later (21Apr32) Major Carter accompanied the Chief of Staff of the New Guard, Major Beveridge, around the region on a three-week recruiting and money raising mission, receiving much the same acclaim as Senator Hardy.

Meanwhile the Star was trying to get Laura Norda endorsed as an election candidate. Through lobbying Government mates, Labor Lawyer Kissane and Mr McKenzie of the Casino Unemployed Committee had managed to get 32 blokes released from Grafton gaol who had been sentenced for 'jumping the rattler' in a search for work and track rations. The Star figured Australia has not yet reached the point of suspending law and handing over the control of the country to an unfortunate minority. ...The Police Magistrate heard the evidence in the charges brought before him for unlawful use of the railway, and made his decisions accordingly. ...and the whole set of circumstances (of the release) smacks too much of overriding the law for the benefit of that section of the community from which the Labour party draws most of its support. ...No one begrudges the released men their liberty, but it's ...sure to encourage other unemployed to seek free railway transport and, apparently, the Labour party thinks they should have this privilege irrespective of what the laws of the country may state.... (In a case in late Jan32, when 8 blokes were put in the clink, the railway traffic inspector at Casino, now the hub of the rail network after Lismore was downgraded, estimated that 400 men per week were travelling over the Grafton-Murwillumbah line without paying the fare. In one batch alone there were 87.... In a case in late Mar32, when another 18 became guests of His Majesty, Pro Bono Kissane argued that These men have to walk from town to town in the hopeless quest for work, many of them are bootless and footsore. ...There is no chance of men getting employment in or around Casino. There are more than 1000 unemployed here, and it would be madness for additional men to join the camp. There is no work from private enterprise. I can't get any work myself.... The manager of the Casino Labour Exchange said he had asked the Government to abolish the track ration (the lowest scale of rations), which compelled men to walk... - after earlier reporting an alarming growth in the pitiable cases... of 15 to 21yr olds.)

Thereafter every announcement of public projects was accompanied by warnings that any associated work was not available to outsiders. In early Apr32 Mayor Eggins, in announcing £30,000 worth of new sewerage and reservoir construction, stated that It would be useless for unemployed from other parts to come to Lismore in the hope of securing employment.... A couple of weeks later the Star made similar comments upon the announcement that the £191,000 loan for the first stage of the hydropower scheme finally had been approved, just after the council started a crack-down on happy campers by insisting on a 'development application' for the erection of any tent or humpy, as it did not want to encourage unemployed to congregate in Lismore.... For March the Lismore dole bill had come in at £2131 (Casino £1645, Ballina £1062, Woodburn/Evans Head £198), but Mr Welsh had trouble keeping track of actual numbers as the unemployed were constantly coming to sign on but leaving without signing off.

In late Apr32 Prime Minister Lyons announced that the Loan Council would be raising money for unemployment relief, NSW to get a reduced entitlement of £600,000 because of Premier Lang's recalcitrance. By 10Jun32, the day before the election, The Commonwealth Unemployment Relief Council for NSW had assessed submissions from LGAs to the tune of £386,673 and gotten immediate approval for implementation from the Feds, who had made grants of £274,981 and loans of £58,642, while the balance of £53,050 came from the LGAs' own funds. The projects were assessed/recommended/approved and money allotted under 4 categories; the whole amount as a loan at 4% interest, a mixture of grant and loans, a mix of grant plus council provision of materials, plant and supervision, and grant plus plant and supervision. Those councils in the best financial position got the most money.

On the eve of the election the Richmond had £7760 worth of road projects underway; Gundurimba, the first away with a £5020 request in early May, got £1000, on the condition it supplemented with £200 of its own money; Kyogle got £2000 and provided plant and materials as a contribution; Casino was enjoying £1100 topped up with £200 from the ratepayers; Woodburn was rationing £750 with an equivalent £100 contribution via provision of horses and carts; and Tomki was playing with £950. Ballina asked for £4000 but got nothing and its 350 unemployed were advised to sign on at Tintenbar, still in financial trouble and given a grant of £990 on condition of a supplement of £560 from its own pocket. Kyogle (which asked for another £6500) and Terania (which begged for a big £13,000) were still being assessed, while Lismore was told that its application for £7000 had not been approved as the projects were not 'developmental or directly reproductive.' Its unemployed however, rushed to sign on at Gundurimba, which was swamped with 244 applications on the day of the work announcement (3Jun32). Five gangs of 40 men were each given a week's work, which was all over by mid July. (Lismore was home to both the Terania and Gundurimba Shire Councils.)

The dairy farmers had gone from broke to destitute in trying to maintain their income by increasing production, the cows presenting them with an extra 4500 tons of butter in the last 12mths (for NSW overall), but once again the candidates rarely talked about the stuff, all the running being done by the PPU, which was still trying to prop up the Paterson scheme with renewed efforts to 'equalize' the export/domestic price and State quotas. By this time the number of dairy farmers had started to increase exponentially as the retired and absentee farm owners returned to work their holdings, their living money depleted because of rent defaults by tenants, who at this time represented about 20% to 50% of dairy farmers, the landlords estimating the former figure while the tenants were emphatic on the latter. Some leases were renegotiated and the owners went into partnership with tenants, then effectively relegated to share farmers, while other desperates figured there was little capital or knowledge required to become a share farmer and joined the dairy game on the reasoning that low returns were better than no wages. Additionally, at the urging of the PPU more crown land was being opened up to accommodate farmers' sons, the latest ballot attracting 1151 applicants for 10 blocks in the Kyogle district and all school teachers, bank managers, solicitors' clerks, postmasters, ...were eliminated from ...the ballot against genuine farmer applicants.

And again the confusing Fredericks’ of Nimbin and Caniaba were anti-labour letter writers. Another perennial couple, Mr Stewart of Nimbin and Mr McInnes of Lismore, started writing about how the Teachers Federation had passed a resolution ‘That Empire Day and saluting the flag be abolished.’ …The insidious doctrine of Communism is ...creeping into our schools and ...the time is ripe for culling out any anti-British teachers, while Canon Moore reckoned that ...Communist doctrines were being taught in his parish..., all smelling of another orchestrated campaign to undermine Anglican Fredericks, who took time out from lecturing in Casino to compose ripostes, donning another hat as President of the Lismore Branch of the NSW Public School Teachers' Federation.

The Star declared that if Mr Lang was re-elected it would shake the whole foundation of the Commonwealth…. The return of Mr Lang and his satellites is unthinkable. The party which nearly brought the State to revolution and chaos has lost all right to supportA record vote (for the UCP) is desirable to indicate the sanity of the people…. And it came to pass that Mr Missingham won his best victory ever with 75% of the vote, taking every booth, including North and South Lismore (where downgrading of the railway workshops had started.) Budd and Reid were similarly returned in Byron and Casino. The Country Party had now consolidated its grip on the region and variations to the menu were rarely seen again. State-wide the UAP won 41 seats, the UCP 23 and Labor 24.


Mr Missingham died 7mths later, 1Feb33, and was eulogised by Colonel Bruxner as a man who had no time for anything that was not British in every way. There was a stampede for his seat by 6 candidates, the handful of Countriote selectors giving the nod to Mayor Frith, Mayor Tighe and Auctioneer Gibson to stand as endorsed UCP candidates after Missingham Jnr and a few other UCM and UCP candidates took advice to step aside. Mr W.F. Oakes made a monumental blunder and bankrolled a young outsider from Sydney, 27yr old Phillip Wilkins who had run as a UAP candidate against Premier Lang and took 7.4% of the Auburn vote. Allan Barrie, son of an ex-mayor of Lismore but now a Sydney resident, insisted he was a 'Coalitionist' despite the Star and the Countriotes branding him an Independent, perhaps because he advocated a reduction of the number of parliaments and didn't like their socialisation of the transport of the State.

And Labor was in its usual disarray, Teacher Fredericks finally getting the nod from his branch colleagues to run with the 'Lang Plan' after Teacher Dunn, who had lost his seat of Mudgee, rejected their overtures to contest Lismore. The meeting was characterised by the same fireworks which abruptly terminated a meeting... at which Lecturer Fredericks and his brother resigned and a previously expelled member held the floor, while one prominent member offered to settle a dispute with another member 'outside'.... The Star's mole was still embedded. (At a meeting in late 1932 the then secretary got in a huff and walked away with all of the Labour League's books and papers and Fredericks was perplexed as to how the Star got the story - I am at a loss to know from whence your information originated.)

Mr Wilkins initially started campaigning under the UAP banner before morphing into an Independent UAP candidate, but after getting carried away with advocating the abolition of the States and following Colonel Bruxner's warning that The Premier (Mr Stevens) had asked him to state that the gentleman who was standing as an Independent UAP candidate was doing so on his own personal responsibility. He had neither the endorsement of the Premier nor of his party..., he (or W.F. throwing his hands up in surrender) finally decided that plain Independent would do. Nevertheless, he was still placed 4th on the Countriote's voting card, followed by Barrie then Fredericks. And W.F. continued to throw money around, giving Wilkins the distinction of taking political advertising to new heights as the first ever candidate to run full-page adverts in the Northern Star, which had wised up and sacked its astrologer, giving no tips for the first three places but endorsing the other three in the same order as the Countriote preferences.

Despite the gloomy black mood of the farmers the re-election of a UCP candidate was another laid-down misere as money continued to flow into the region. The Fed UAP had continued to dole out the largesse for distribution by the NSW UAP/UCP, with an initial offering of another £600,000 immediately upon Premier Stevens' ascendancy. Senator Massy-Greene, Assistant (often Acting) Federal Treasurer and Chairman of the Loan Council, played a large part, while actively clashing with ex-Treasurer Page performing a minor role from the cross benches. At the height of the Depression in 1932 Dr Page, at loose ends upon finding himself on the outer, poured more fuel on the hotheads and asserted that ‘New England’ was prepared to unilaterally declare itself independent, arguably generating the same largesse from the treasure chest as previously. While Federally this stance put him further at odds with the UAP, in NSW the coalition was put together with his nod, Colonel Bruxner leading the ‘new’ Country Party into a powerful position under UAP Premier Stevens. Colonel Bruxner, Tabulam born and Member for Tenterfield, became Deputy Premier and Minister for Transport, giving him a great say in allocation of resources in this neck of the woods. In Feb1934 Mr Fraser, general manager of Norco and a member of the NSW Unemployment Relief Council, (an appointment demonstrating the prominence of Norco and/or the cunning of the Country Party), upon given the honour of opening a £22,000 bridge and associated road works near Tabulam said he hoped that the bridge over Rocky River would long remain a monument to Mr Bruxner..., who allocated the bananas. (The ‘Bruxner Road’, now the ‘Bruxner Highway’, received heaps of money pre, during and post Depression.)

The first large project in the region was approved a month after the Jun32 election when Casino's £63,000 sewerage scheme got the nod, with half the money as a grant and the rest as a 40yr loan at 4%. Within a week 572 men had applied for jobs, but... The possibility of obtaining employment on the sewerage works at Casino has attracted hundreds of men to the town from all parts of NSW and other States. In the three unemployment camps there are approximately 1500 men, women and children, and this number is being augmented daily. The police are recommending the issue of track rations only to prevent further additions to the number, who cannot all obtain employment.... Some residents of Casino are advising relatives from other parts to come and enrol for work.... Attention is drawn to a condition which precludes strangers getting employment, the condition being: 'The term bona fide local resident may be defined as applying to any person who has resided in the district for a period of three months.... And by early August The closing of the Moree-Boggabilla railway work has caused many men who formerly lived in Casino to return in the hope of getting employment on the sewerage works. More than 100 additional ration tickets for single men were issued to-day, and there was a corresponding increase for married men. Those who have returned to the town previously fulfilled the residence requirements..., but only a small percentage of the men now waiting can possibly be given jobs..., on the same day it was announced that the Bexhill Quarry had ceased operation upon completion of the ballasting contract for the Grafton rail bridge and as a result 30 to 40 men have been thrown on the unemployment market. (The bridge was opened by Colonel Bruxner in mid Jul32, giving a straight through Sydney-Brisbane run.)

From this low things slowly recovered. By late August 765 men were engaged on the Casino scheme on a rotation basis, 30 married ex-diggers with 4 or more children under 14 being at the top of the priority list and 330 single non ex-diggers at the bottom. And the resurrected Main Roads Board had approved the biggest road construction programme for Kyogle and Terania for many years - 80 blokes, some from the Casino pool, already at work building the Woodenbong-Bruxner Road link. By mid August Casino had £90,000 worth of public works approved, having won more money for a new hospital and the Tatham bridge, while in July and August £4,000 worth of private construction had started. And thanks to special loans to farmers of up to £300 at 3% over 15yrs, 12 blokes on the unemployment books at Casino were already slaving away on farms around Mummulgum - due to a condition that the farmer and family members weren't allowed to lift a finger themselves (and you guessed it - whinges from over-worked and under-paid farm hands increased.) The unemployed transients were no longer a problem and the ration bill had dropped dramatically due to Casino being removed from the list of approved 'track ration' centres (along with Bonalbo, Kyogle, Acacia Creek and Wilson's Downfall in the general area, just in case.) For October the dole bill came in at £696 (Lismore £1027). [All places had decreased sharply after June (Casino £1871, Lismore £2331, Ballina £1135, Woodburn £198), except Ballina remained stubbornly stuck at around £595 per month after July, while Woodburn ceased issuing all scales of ration coupons after mid December, their local unemployed having to trek to Coraki (who later had to walk to Lismore once a fortnight.) By the time of the Lismore election in Mar33 Casino's dole bill was averaging ~£40/mth.]

And the basic wage had been cut from £4/2/6 to £3/10/-, with the public servants suffering an additional loss, and old age and invalid pensions went from 17/6d to 15/- a week. The unemployment tax of 1/- in the £ on wages remained in place, while the new 32 question dole application form introduced in October wasn't greeted with riots as happened elsewhere. Nor was the October announcement that the rules of engagement had changed to define a 'bona fide local resident' as one who had at least 12mths local residency. And nor the re-categorization of the unemployed into 6 groups for employment priority; married men with six or more sprogs to get no less that 15 days work every 5wks, and the single blokes at the other end of the scale on 5 days per month. (5 men with 53 children between them got most of the work on the new £6500 nurses' quarters in Lismore.)

The single blokes were given a break at Christmas when a special relief grant of £250,000 was made available, with priority for work given to those longest on the unemployment queue, irrespective of marital status. In addition to the ongoing work, this grant gave 7 of the 10 Richmond councils another £6,600 between them, half from Santa and the other half provided as a 3% loan over 5yrs. Those not already on the job were given road work on a rotation basis and paid at the equivalent rate of £3/10/- for a 44hr week. (In anticipation of a 'call'... 254 registered unemployed men besieged the South Lismore labour exchange early yesterday morning, said the Star 8Dec32.) In late Feb33 the dole was cut to 5/6d per week for single blokes, 9/- for a married couple, married with one child 14/- and each child thereafter 2/6d, accompanied by the institution of ration cards in lieu of coupons that could now be signed off at any grocery store, which was all overtaken by the work-for-the-dole scheme introduced in Jun33.

In early Jan1933 £100,000 from the Unemployment Relief Fund was set aside for dairy farmers, providing individual loans of up to £600 (if the farmer put up one third.) But the Kyogle farmers were weeping as their farm hands deserted to the Kyogle-Woodenbong-Urbenville roads project and links to the Bruxner, one of the largest unemployment projects around at this time and employing 250 blokes living in a number of calico camps along different sections. ...The big road works now in progress absorbed practically every available man and youth in the district. Although the wages are not high on the road work jobs, the men work only five days a week, and earn more in that period than they could earn in seven days on dairy farms.... The work... is mostly a pick and shovel job... and apparently much more costly than if carried out by contract with the aid of machinery.... At the same time Mr Dunningham, Minister for Labour and Industry and Chairman of the Relief Council, announced a sum of £200,000 had been earmarked for road construction in the Clarence and Richmond valleys..., the purpose of which was to open up more areas for dairy farming and add to the world-wide glut of butter, 20,000 tons of the stuff now sitting in cold storage in London, while the home market was suffering through the inroads being made by the margarine manufacturers. And the number of farmers by-passing the factories and making their own butter, which already was of serious proportions, selling locally and undercutting the levy-added Paterson stuff, was rising rapidly. (In Sydney, Norco's major market, butter consumption had dropped by a third, while in the UK the Brits were opting for Danish butter because it was softer and easier to spread.)

A week after the death of Mr Missingham the 'earmarked sum' suddenly became £300,000, and headlined as 'Brazen Attempt to Influence Votes' by the Sydney Labor Daily, denied by Mr Dunningham: ...even if the 'Labor Daily' statements were true, which they are not, the carrying out of the works (in the Kyogle/Casino district) could not possibly have any influence on the Lismore by-election. At the same time the grant to dairy farmers became £150,000 and the farmer's obligation reduced to 20%, while 400 applications... had already ...been received and a considerably larger number are in the course of transmission to the board through dairy factories, to which applications are submitted in the first instance.... Further benefits arrived with the Farmers' Relief Act in mid Feb33. (And regarding Mr Dunningham's 'no influence' comments, in late Mar33 the Star reported a dramatic drop to 450 registered unemployed at the Labour Exchange due entirely to an outflux to the Casino, Kyogle, Bonalba, Mallanganee roads' projects. But they started to dribble back shortly afterwards upon finding that the local unemployed in those centres, plus those from outside, ... had beat them to it.)

The tenant farmers were still the most militant, believing that the farmer's advocates, the PPU, did not represent the tenants' side of the industry.... I would suggest a monster meeting of tenant farmers in Lismore... said struggling Tenant Short who, at the subsequent meeting of 83 tenant farmers, got up a motion for a 22½% rent reduction and amendments to the Agricultural Lessees' Relief Act. (And a week later a meeting of 50 landlords begged to differ.) But it was the Tweed farmers who started the greater militancy, 600 of the happy chaps gathering at Murbah on the day of the Lismore election to say they'd had enough - following the announcement two days earlier that the February pay to farmers was to be 7½d per lb of butter, the lowest return ever. Voluntarianism wasn't working (a number of co-operative and proprietary butter factories had never signed up to Paterson/Equalization) and they wanted immediate implementation of a compulsory Commonwealth equalization scheme and a Federally fixed price, finally coming full circle to Massy-Greene's 1919 plan. A week later (17Mar33) 100 Mullum district farmers gathered to hear Mr W.P. Condon of the DFS advocate immediate implementation of Teacher Dunn's Marketing Act, while his mate Mr Wiley in supporting the motion stated had farmers adopted Senator Massy Greene's original plan, which was rejected at a meeting of Norco shareholders, farmers would have been £30,000,000 better off. Speaking against the Paterson scheme he said....

And three weeks later during a monster rally in Lismore the pay for March was announced as 7¼d, the 8th consecutive monthly decrease, at which time the farmers totally lost their sense of humour. But as a consolation Norco announced one of the best returns in the State, its 4121 suppliers to receive a gross pay of £117,931 for the month; 226 farmers to get under £10; 901 to receive between £10 and £20; 1343 between £20 and £30; 901 between £30 and £40; and 750 over £40.

Country Frith won the primary with 33.4% of the vote, followed by Comrade Fredericks on 30.1%, Country Gibson with 20.3%, Country Tighe 7.7%, Independent Wilkins 7.65%, Mr Informal 2.2%, and Independent Barrie 0.8%. After distribution of preferences Frith came home with 64% and Fredericks 36%, a far better win for Labor than in 1932 and sending some sort of message, but Frith was returned unopposed until 1941 when the Teacher decided to make another run. And this was the last hurrah of the Nationalists/Liberals in the region, giving the Country Party a dream run ever since. [Engineer W.F. was farewelled to the great electorate in the sky in 1934 (along with Fair Go Editor Peek and Advocate Kissane, the latter needing 10 priests to get him launched.)]

For sure, the Richmond-Tweed suffered a ‘relative’ benign Great Depression compared to the the rest of the State, but it remains a quandary as to whether this was due to the Country Party rewarding loyalty - an obligation called upon at every election when the sitting members reminded their constituents of all they had done for them. Notwithstanding the dubious Paterson Scheme for the farmers, and the initial huge railway undertakings, it was mainly the following grant money for roads and the accompanying infrastructure that cushioned the region, although a perennial complaint from the Richmondites was that the Country Party was favouring Dr Page’s home turf of the Clarence with a greater share of the projects. 

The region’s alleged greater-than-pro rata share of the road/infrastructure money could be sheeted home to the Country Party because of the New State hysteria. This old secession obsession got a run all through the 1920s when the region was convinced it wasn’t getting a fair share of State resources, again reaching boiling point in early 1929. At all elections, but particularly those when Labor was in power, the loudest noise was coming from the Country Party, providing a nice 'wedge' ploy, despite all the sums being done in 1925 showing the proposition was completely unviable, and despite cost arguments at almost every election by Comrade Fredericks and Protestant Oakes in an attempt to counter the emotional appeal (the logo 'Country Party' itself being persuasive packaging.) In any event, the Star liked to assert that the infrastructure projects put in place in the region were a direct result of panicked politicians in Sydney placating the punters.

[While the Country Party leadership was professing passion for secession, it seems the local punters were only ever lukewarm, viewing it more as a Tablelands obsession. And despite a tongue lashing from Lieutenant Green for their recalcitrance, the PPU and Norco saw access to their major market in Sydney under threat. To stir up more interest and allay fears the 'Far North Coast Sub-Division of the New England Movement', comprising the electorates of Lismore, Byron, Casino and Clarence, was formed during a Country Party Conference at Casino in Sep1933. While Mr H.L. Anthony was the more prominent agitator, Deputy Mayor Eggins of Lismore was elected leader. But it took until Apr1967, when the region was again suffering severe depression, that a referendum gave their descendants an opportunity to test their salesmanship - Dr B.J. Eggins and Lawyer W.F. Oakes supporting a No campaign that saw the majority of the 420,000 punters in 21 electorates of Northern NSW agree with them, except for the 60% of Lismoreians who sided with Mr J.D. Anthony MHR and wanted out of NSW, the 2nd biggest block of Yea sayers of the 9 similarly inclined electorates.]

At the end of Apr1933 the number of registered unemployed in Lismore jumped to 494 (from a consistent monthly average of ~450), mainly as a result of the announcement of grants for reballasting the railway lines, although the Mayor, Chamber of Commerce, citizens, police and the Star were all disturbed over the influx of 'undesirables' brought by the general perception that Lismore and district presented rich pickings, as it hadn't suffered the same deprivations as elsewhere. It all came to a head with the mugging of Angelo Crethar and a crackdown on beggars, street buskers and residential hawkers (and an increase in the electricity bill with the introduction of more street lights and all-night burning.) Nevertheless, the unemployment figures remained much the same into the mid year census, which disclosed 13 separate 'camps' providing digs for a fraction of the 397 males, (and maybe housing some of the 92 females), who listed themselves as unemployed. And a month later, in Aug33, Nesbitt MLC told Parliament that 'Lismore has less unemployed today than any other district in the State. There was practically no unemployed in the town....'

Albert Park, home to 4 families and 16 single blokes, had become a minor resort in the overall gulag, although two months later the health inspector said there were 24 permanent 'camps' at the Park, inclusive of the Singles' Barracks now housing 12 people, usually full to overflowing he said, adding that while no doubt it was true that the number of unemployed at the camp was diminishing, it was increasing in other parts of the town by some of those from the camp shifting into vacant houses. There were ten unemployed in one house in North Lismore last night, he declared.... (Anecdotally, one of the larger singles' camps was at the old council quarry where the Baptist Church now stands in Uralba St.) So the picture isn't clear. (12mths later Albert Park was reported with 25 permanent adults, 20 children from 18mths to 17yrs, and 'a number of travellers' in the singles' barracks, which were in an 'unsightly and deplorable condition', and home to 'drifters'. The 'Unemployed Camp Committee' had long been defunct, but a new 'Unemployed and Relief Workers' Association', apparently with no interest in Albert Park, was formed in mid 1934 with 140 members.)

However, at the census the self-assessing Lismore citizens gave themselves a relatively healthy median income per male 'breadwinner' of £127/yr, way above the Municipal median of £97 and State median of £86, despite 324 male breadwinners claiming they'd earned no income over the past 12mths, perhaps indicating that the work-for-the-dole scheme introduced to Lismore in early June hadn't yet had an effect, while 5wks earlier Mayor Hosie reported 260 men receiving the dole in Lismore. (For comparison, Wagga, the capital of the Riverina and a similar size to Lismore, but less convincingly returning a Countriote, supported a pool of 595 unemployed males and 64 females, while the male breadwinners were taking home a median £91/yr.) At Casino, now home to a large railway department (250 employees bringing in ~£50,000/yr in wages, and shortly to rise with the transfer of South Lismore's locomotive branch), the number of self-assessed unemployed had a bigger drop to 138 males and 22 females, and the electorate, which extended into the Clarence region, rewarded Countriotes until 1971 when the rural recession, just as devastating for the dairy farmers as the Great Depression, forced a Labor experiment.
(See Depression Statistics at http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~aliens/annex_b.htm )

Mr Frith sat on the Lismore seat for the next 20yrs, finally ousted (at age 70) by a younger Countriote, 'Dreadnought boy' Jack Easter, Mayor of Ballina. The Lismore consumers continued brand loyalty until 1959 when a Country cock-up enforced a product change with Keith Compton, ex Engineer of Kyogle and Gundurimba Shires, who described himself as the first and only Labor alderman elected to Lismore Council in 1941, implying Mayor Oakes was initially a conservative. Bruce Duncan reintroduced the Country diet in 1965, but chose to become an Independent in the latter period of his 23yr reign rather than switch to the Nationals after the Country Party rebranded itself. At Federal level Richmond returned Countriotes/Nationals until the school teachers got home in 1990. Except for a couple of aberrations the Nationalist/UAP sales team, repackaged as the Liberal Party in 1944, has continued to give up on the region (or still can't buy a franchise.)

Meanwhile, back on the farm, two weeks after the 11Mar33 election Comrade Fredericks was amongst the many wanting prompt action, the loss of spending money by the dairymen being greater than the money flowing in on relief schemes, and pressed for the calling of meetings in all large centres, such as Lismore, which all tenant farmers, share farmers, mortgagee farmers and wage earners engaged in the dairying industry be urged to attend.... And a week later the Star reported Unprecedented scenes... at a rally of 700 district farmers, business and professional men, and private citizens of Lismore... at the Richmond Hall. The following week another meeting of 97 farmers proposed a dozen different solutions, from lynching any storekeeper found selling margarine and any baker or pastry cook found using the stuff in cakes or other pastries, to fire bombing Foley Bros, the proprietary company supplied by about 300 district farmers, which had not signed up for the equalization scheme, while Chairman Gibson read out a letter from Country Dunlop MLC, new NSW President of the non-political PPU, who had changed the party line and now advocated legislation for a compulsory Paterson Plan. A week later Comrade Fredericks and his Bolsheviks upped the ante and resolved to ask Mr J.T. Lang to press for a Royal Commission to inquire into the dairying industry..., at the same time Mr Hayter conceded that It seems nearly impossible to get dairymen to stand together to adopt measures on a voluntary basis..., while continuing loyalty to voluntary Paterson.

The overachieving cows, together with the pigs and calves who offered themselves for slaughter, presented the 5796 dairy farmers of the Richmond district with a gross income of £1,402,203 for 1933, said Mr Wilkinson, the senior dairy bureaucrat for the Richmond, probably including the upper Clarence in his figures. (And a net return of ~£2/10/- per week commented a dairy farmer - but no mention of what was passed on to the share farmer.) Nevertheless, things on the butter marketing front continued to bounce around until the farmers said stop stuffing around in Jan34 when their pay hit another all time low of 6½d per lb, giving them the lowest income since 1898 despite (or because of) record production.

The voluntary Paterson finally ceased operation on 25Apr34 and the Commonwealth Dairy Produce Equalization Committee Limited was established to oversee new State Dairy Produce Boards (that were based on the original Queensland model), which had the power to fix the amount of butter for domestic consumption within States, regulate the movement between States to prevent 'dumping', and place the surplus to Australian requirements under the export control of the Equalization Committee, who figured out the final pay due to each butter factory after convoluted calculations. But 1934 and 1935 turned out to be the worse income years ever, while the subsequent years were only marginally better, even with an easing of the glut through the increasing exodus of exhausted farmers from the milking shed. Between 1935 and 1939 the North Coast pensioned 18,000 cows, Norco butter production decreased by 8,500,000 lbs and its average monthly pay to farmers increased from 8.8d/ld to 12.3d/lb, about where it was in 1915 upon introduction of price fixing. Labor kicked in with subsidies during the early years of WW2 in an effort to stop the haemorrhaging and keep farmers producing butter for Britain.

1934 Federal

The Richmond race of late 1934 coincided with happy cows and the best rains since 1926 delivering another new production record and record low price, and a recent worsening in unemployment - 390 people in Lismore, Terania and Gundurimba, not picked up for unemployment relief projects, were either drawing rations or being paid under the work-for-the-dole scheme, while Mr Welsh estimates that there are about 150 registered who are not eligible for relief work, presumably meaning there were still many ‘on the track’ who did not meet residency requirements. (At this time Lismore Council was authorizing the payment of an average of £500/fortnight to work-for-the-dole recipients, of whom an average of 220 from the unemployment pool were on the job at any one time.) The rise may have been due to the widening of the policy of creating local relief work specifically for Sydney/Newcastle unemployed, the first project being the £20,000 Nimbin-Cawongla-Murbah Road, started in Apr34 and created for 100 blokes from Sydney. A protest by Terania Shire Council, which would normally have been given the money to carry out the work under the roster system, eventually got 20 locals on the unemployment register in Lismore allotted to the camps. At the same time reafforestation work specifically created for 18 to 25yr old single blokes from Newcastle, got underway in the Banyabba and Braemar State Forests. Like the road workers, they were supplied with tents, rations, utensils and subsidised rail passes to the camps, but because of the poorer pay (30hrs per wk at 1/- per hr), they were also given rabbit traps to earn a quid in their own time, the bunnies being the current fad in the Greek cafes - stuffed and baked for 1/-. (The foresters, provided they proved they were stayers by remaining for 3mths, got paid at the rate of the current 'living wage', meaning an increase of 16/8d per week, after Jun34.) One of the biggest 'non-locals' projects in the Richmond-Tweed was planned for the Burringbar Range where 300 miners from Cessnock were to wield picks reforming the highway.

Reafforestation work in the wider Northern NSW region was anticipated to absorb 4000 single blokes, at the same time deafforestation work was expanding like the clappers. Supplying railway sleepers to meet the huge contracts signed with China and New Zealand, as well as meeting the growing domestic demand, was drawing men and families from as far afield as Victoria, all to the great distress of ex-Mayor Hosie who was trying to have the Nightcap Range taken out of the hands of the Forestry Department and declared a National Park. And the roads into the State forests were ‘Sydney-siders only’ relief projects, much to the displeasure of the Shire Councils who figured it was 'trespassing on the rights of local government', an objection already voiced about the Main Roads Board machinations.

Of the £300,000 allocated for development of the Upper Clarence and Upper Richmond, £172,000 had been spent by mid 1934 (£118,000 had gone on wages alone), creating 62 miles of new roads and 30 new bridges in the Bonalbo district and giving access to 450,000 acres, 130,000 acres of which was earmarked for dairying, on which acreage were now 475 holdings (an expansion from 214 at the start of the project in late 1932), some already adding to the mountain of butter. Norco's Bonalbo factory now had 125 suppliers which meant that, with families and the multiplier effect, there were about 9000 people dependent on the Bonalbo factory and its suppliers. Mr Dunningham, on the presentation of these figures to the Bonalbo Agricultural Society, in front of Mr Eggins, Mr Hayter, Editor Care, et al, was given a rousing cheer and allowed to indulge in a bit of politicking. ... Mr Dunningham remarked that 'they had their own methods of dealing with communists on relief works,' and he advised Bonalbo people to 'boot communists out' if they should endeavour to establish themselves in the Bonalbo district.... He spoke of the personal friendship between himself and the deputy Premier (Mr Bruxner) - the latter being responsible for Mr Dunningham's visit - and of his visit as an indication of the good feeling existing between the UAP and the Country Party in the State sphere. 'It would be a good thing for Australia if the same feeling existed in the Federal sphere....'

The local field for the Federal sphere included 3 familiar stayers - Country Green, Country Gibson and Teacher Fredericks, now formally standing as 'State Labor' (aka 'True Labor' and 'Lang Labor' verses 'Federal Labor'), with Country Eggins making his debut. But it nearly didn’t turn out that way. At the end of Jul34 21 members of UCP’s Richmond Electoral Council voted to endorse Green and Eggins, much to the indignation of stunned Mr Gibson and furious Lt Green, who could not understand the giving of a gratuitous endorsement to another candidate. Nevertheless, Green and Eggins hit the campaign trail, running big adverts paid for and endorsed by the UCP, while a week later Gibson started running two-liners, paid for and endorsed by himself, with no indication of what party he represented. The groundswell that developed, particularly the protests from Kyogle, Casino and Murbah, echoed in the Star's editorials, threatened to split the party until the Central Executive, which had rubber-stamped the Richmond’s recommendation, stepped in and endorsed Gibson at the end of August, just over 2wks out from polling day. It seems that Labor initially had decided not to run, but rushed Comrade Fredericks to the blocks after they saw the turmoil developing.

Pre campaign Dr Page took all the credit for The dairy stabilisation legislation…which... is largely due to the Country Party’s vigilance and incessant action..., while Labor, now under the presidency of Comrade Harris of Murbah, figured it was ‘the latest and probably most wicked proposal,’ ...because of... the restriction of production…. These butter comments served as the rare mention of the elephant in the electorate during the rest of the campaign, which saw Mr Eggins and Mr Gibson mostly singing catchy lyrics from the same hymnbook... ‘only men of country experience who were thoroughly familiar with country requirements were fitted to represent country interests’, while Lt Green was in a huff most of the time (or made to look so by the Star.) All condemned Fredericks for wanting to nationalise the banks, while his Labor colleagues continued to be slightly unhinged with the conspiracy theory that both the NSW and Federal Governments were the puppets of a shadowy 'big business ring.' New English Editor Care carried on the Star's tradition, giving them minimal coverage and consigning them to the usual place in the pecking order, and, despite the initial entertaining Country preselection skulduggery, along with the usual anti-Labor Fredericks of Caniaba and Nimbin getting bolder and even confusing the Lieutenant, also mentioned that The 1934 election campaign has been one of the quietest on record.

In any event, the Lieutenant again won the primary with 27.8% of the vote, the True Believer Teacher trailing by 238 votes on 27.4%, Country Eggins with 26.5%, PPU Gibson with a half-hearted 15.4% and Mr Informal on 2.9%. Once again second-count distribution was scary, Eggins jumping ahead of Green upon receipt of Gibson’s preferences, but after the elimination of Fredericks Green got home 25,366 to 24,313. Bolshie Fredericks again won Casino, and now added Lismore, Murbah and Tweed Heads to his fan club, while Green took the Tablelands and Eggins marginally captured most of the remaining subdivisions. At the declaration of the poll Lt Green was an ungracious winner (or again made to look so by the Star), claiming that ‘vile slanders’ concerning him had been concocted and disseminated…. He asserted that if any case of ‘this malicious and abominable lying’ was reported to him he would take steps to vindicate his character… and not being paranoid that… a ‘parochial faction’, having its headquarters in Lismore, had tried unsuccessfully to unseat him…. Mr Eggins maintained he fought a clean campaign, while the Teacher was happy with the big increase in his vote over last time, all his new fans being disaffected UAP voters reckoned the Lieutenant. Mr Gibson didn’t front.

Nationally, the ALP made a small gain to 18 seats, the UAP a loss to 33, the UCP a loss to 14, and Independents a gain of 5 to sit on 10. Prime Minister Lyons was again forced to form a coalition with the UCP, but Dr Page’s influence wasn’t nearly as great as his previous power position in the coalition. He was awarded the Ministry of Commerce, while the UCP received only another 4 of the 14 cabinet posts, 2 of them without portfolio. In the Senate the ALP was left floundering with 3 seats, the UAP a gain of 5 to 26 and the UCP a gain of 2 to 7. The number of eligible electors on the Richmond roll (53,675) had continued to rise from the Depression proper, but by the election of 1937 the expansion had slowed (54,884) - Star figures.

Entertaining skullduggery continued into the following council elections of 1Dec34. Two weeks out from this election Mayor Ross was sprung as the mysterious lessee of the old rifle range, which for 4yrs council had been trying to purchase from the Dept of Defence to preserve as a remnant of the Big Scrub, and in moving a motion of ‘no confidence’ Alderman Hosie said Your attitude has been outrageous and hypocritical…. You have treated your fellow aldermen in a dastardly manner in the matter of the scrub lease…. Members of this council have been publicly belittled…. Two days later Mayor Ross announced he wouldn’t be contesting the elections (along with supporters Aldermen Kellas and Arthur - and all grossly unfair said Lawyer Basil Oakes), but an outraged Ald Hosie took the debate right to the wire. All sitting aldermen were returned, with ex-Mayor Lawyer McKenzie being 1 of the 3 new faces (along with Storekeeper Ben Frith, brother of William MLA and a committeeman with the Lismore branch of the UCP, and Chemist Brand, the current President of the branch and a Director of Northern Star Ltd.) The Lismore punters were a hard comedy audience to impress, the Star commenting that the elections did not provide much interest for Lismore ratepayers, after 36% of the 4041 electors on the roll fronted up (a decrease from 48% of 4049 in 1931.) Ald Eggins was elected Mayor. (Apathy occurred across the region, the Ballinarians being the least interested with only 26% of the 1934 enrolled punters foregoing the beach to do their duty. The Casino Mayor declared the number of votes a ‘record in reverse.’)

A few weeks later apathy was still the go when the Lismore branch of the UCP began gearing up for the State elections, and the Treasurer, Mr Allen, declared ...The (financial) position is even worse in the other sub-groups, which are as dead as Julius Caesar. There is not one of them constitutionally alive…, and promptly resigned. The Secretary, ex-Labor Gillies, was appointed as a ‘paid organiser’ to stir up interest, playing a part in the huge Country Party picnic on Tooloom Range on 28Jan35, at which Dr Page, Colonel Bruxner and Mr Dunningham were amongst the 1000 people attending for the launch of the latest network of roads in the Upper Richmond/Clarence, bringing the total spent over the last 2½yrs to £243,780. According to Mr Dunningham, about 1100 or 1200 unemployed men had been sent to the district when the work was begun. Of that number 600 had left of their own accord, having secured private employment, in many instances in the district…. Because they had not been good workers, about 300 of the men had been dismissed from the work (presumably the ‘communists’ he mentioned earlier), which had been carried to completion by between 200 and 300 workers who had done their job well….

A week later Mr Welsh reported that 231 new men had registered with him in the last 2mths, many when the Main Roads’ contract at Urbenville finished with the object of being placed on the Main Road’s Cawongla job, at which time there was a keen demand for farm hands to help with high production due of the continuing good rains. The unemployed however, preferred the work-for-the-dole money, amounting to £1/1/10d per fortnight for single blokes, 80 of whom had such employment with the Lismore council. They weren’t interested in the farmers’ offer of £1/wk and board in return for labouring 25hrs a day, 8 days a week. The Lismore police had no sympathy at all with men who will not accept work when it is offered. These individuals, who can only be classed as ‘unemployables’, may find themselves with nothing at all if they persist in adopting this attitude…. Similar sentiments were expressed by the Casino police who were telling the single blokes that they must take to the track and find work... if they rejected farm work. The unemployed held a protest meeting at the Casino Town Hall: Realising, as we do, the degrading effect the track has on young men and how almost impossible is the task, we desire to know if the constable is taking this action on his own initiative, or if it is an order from the department…. The Northern Star was also hardening up: …The relief work system was never intended to become an industry and there is little doubt but that, if it were abolished, many of the recipients, especially the single men, would be forced to take farm work and would no longer be a charge on taxpayers.

At the same time as these goings-on Mr Gillies was the leading agitator for a meeting of dairy farmers because, amongst other things, …we cannot afford to listen to the abortive cry of ‘limitation of production.’ Although Norco directors refused to convene this meeting, it is not being called now in any spirit of antagonism or censure on the directorate…. Norco has all the eggs in the one basket, while tons of dairy products from outside proprietories find profitable market in the district. These bye-products and side lines must be taken up or Norco will be left standing still…. And Spencer Cottee had been rehabilitated: Had they listened more to him than some of the 'heads', who ran the meetings at Byron Bay, probably things would have been much better than they were to-day.... The Queensland farmers were still getting 1½d per lb more than the New South Welshmen and the local proprietary company, Foley Bros, was getting seriously competitive with its new factory, but Norco said nonsense and the farmers remained resigned to their fate. Two months later (18Apr35) Frith MLA was returned unopposed (and again 4May38). (Apart from cheese in 1940, Norco remained complacent for another 15yrs before belatedly redistributing the eggs - bottled milk and ice-cream in 1950 and yoghurt in 1960 - perhaps prompted by Peters Ice Cream Pty Ltd taking a controlling stake in Foley Bros in 1946.)

The Lieutenant’s Waterloo came at the Federal election of late 1937. (Country Green 29.7% primary, Labor Fredericks 28.6%, Country Anthony 23.5%, Country Gibson 15.8%, Mr Informal 2.4%.) Over two thirds of Labor preferences went to Country Anthony, giving him a comfortable win over Lt Green. Labor won Lismore and Casino on primary votes, while Banana Bender Anthony ran third on primary in his home plantation of Murbah, following Green and Fredericks. The Lieutenant was gracious in defeat, but still obsessed with setting the record straight that it was he that originated, and saw carried to fruition, the 6d per lb duty on New Zealand butter that made the Paterson Scheme workable. He stood for the State seat of Bathurst in 1938 and was trounced by both the Labor and UAP candidates.

Labor continued to make a comeback nationally, winning 11 seats to sit on 29, while the UAP lost 5 to 28 and the UCP gaining 2 to 16. And they recovered in the Senate, gaining 13 seats to sit on 16, the UAP down 10 to 16 and the UCP down 3 to 4. Prime Minister Lyons died 7Apr1939 and Dr Page became PM for 18 days until the UAP elected Mr Menzies, a man with no great love of the Country Party. Nor did Dr Page have any great affection for Mr Menzies whom he tried to undermine, resulting in he and the UCP being excused from cabinet, the party splitting and Dr Page subsequently losing the leadership to Mr Fadden, one of the splitters. But they were invited back in early 1940 and shortly afterwards Dr Page was reappointed as Minister for Commerce, although later sent out of the way to London after Menzies resigned under pressure in late 1941. Prime Minister Fadden took temporary command until the Independents switched sides and gave Labor the keys to the treasury.

In late 1940 Mr Anthony consolidated his grip on Richmond. This election was greeted with apathy as the citizens were distracted by the war, aided by the Star, which devoted most of its space to armed campaigns, although, paradoxically, trying to talk up interest in election combat: It is impossible to reconcile the public attitude of ‘can’t be bothered, the war is more important’ with the knowledge that the results of the polling have a vital bearing on Australia’s part in the conflict… All except dyed-in-the-wool Labourites are confused about the Labour factions, knowing nothing about the causes and usually caring less. There was a time when, no matter how bitter the pre-selection disputes, Labour would always go united to the poll, but that no longer applies

Country Anthony scored 64.2% of the primary vote, Comrade Fredericks, standing as 'Australian Labor Party (Non Communist)', 30.6%, and 62yr old Photographer Collingridge of Canberra, standing as State Labor (different to the earlier 'State Labor'), 4%. Mr Anthony took a clean sweep, winning every subdivision to turn the whole electorate conservative, although the Teacher marked his paper with a fail in the actual towns of Lismore and Murbah. (Fredericks, aged 60, gave the game away the following year after a tilt at Country Frith, but his brother, Francis Clarence, carried on the family political tradition - their father had been a local political agitator back in the 1890s - with another go in 1947.) Nationally Labor continued its comeback, winning another 3 seats to ride home on 32, the UAP unseated from 5 to canter in with 23, the UCP losing 2 to graze on 14 and the Independents gaining 4 to play with 6. In Oct41 the Independents presented Prime Minister Curtin and the ALP with the licence to run the country. The new Liberal-Country coalition regained control of the purse in 1949 and Labour went into prolonged disarray.

Back in Nov39 the Richmond PPU had resolved to do something about the lack of political action on 'curtailment of margarine sales'. Farmer Whipps of Alstonville advocated that the Union would do better to attach itself to the Labour Party, prompting Chairman Gibson to retort (with hand on heart) that the Union was not and had never been attached to or allied with any political party (repeated as 'non party and non political' on becoming President of the NSW PPU in 1943 and appointment to the Australian Dairy Produce Board in 1944, serving in both jobs through Labour and Coalition administrations into the late 1950s.) In any event it was Federal Labour that introduced escalating butter subsidies during WW2, which always lagged the farmers' production costs resulting in another 7000 registered dairies disappearing from NSW  by 1950. And at a PPU meeting in Lismore in Aug51 500 distressed farmers threatened to go on strike, following Labour Premier McGirr's refusal to support another rise in the retail price of butter 'unless it is made by Commonwealth subsidy'. The Prices Commissioner had just granted a 6d rise, from 2/2d to 2/8d per lb, but the militant farmers argued this came nowhere near compensating for their production costs. The meeting condemned the Federal Govt for not honouring election promises... and was ...appalled at the attitude of the Country Party members of the Federal Cabinet.... Farmers had been peasants for years, employing their wives and children as slaves to provide butter for the community..., but Treasurer Fadden refused to go beyond the current subsidy of 1/3d per lb (£16,800,000/yr), forcing Premier Girr to blink first and approve another rise to 3/2d. The brinkmanship game continued and in mid 1952 NSW Labour again caved in (a rise to 4/2d) in the face of Treasurer Fadden's steely stare. There it sat for a while as consumption of butter continued to fall, production costs and inflation continued to rise, margarine continued to gain market share, Peters acquired the remaining shares of Foley Bros and cleverly sold to Norco, and Lismore elected its first ever Labour MLA.

In May50 the Northern Star headlined Record Prices Reflect Confidence in Future.... During last year 342 building permits involving an expenditure of £668,624 were issued by Lismore City Council..., and it was difficult to secure a house under £2000.... One of the largest firms of wholesale merchants in the Commonwealth, David Cohen and Co Pty Ltd., recently purchased the Riviera dance hall.... Although the price has not been disclosed, it is understood they are insured for £10,000. The 25 foot shop frontage occupied by Messrs Lance and Co in Molesworth Street (next Crethar’s Air Conditioned Cafe) was recently sold for £550 per foot. The single storey brick building in Woodlark Street, known as Clive Buildings, was recently sold... for £23,500. It is understood that the big chain store organisation, Messrs Fosseys Ltd., bought this £470 per foot property.... Messrs Fred Ash and Co Pty Ltd acquired their property in Magellan for £20,000. McKenzie Buildings in Woodlark Street (housing The Richmond Cafe) have been sold... in the vicinity of £13,500. And Council has approved plans for Notaras Bros £20,000 suite of shops in Woodlark; construction is about to start on the new £170,000 nurses quarters and new £400,000 hospital; and the McKenzie Chambers in Molesworth Street (housing the Golden Globe Cafe) is expected to attract keen bidding.... (They went unsold at the 19May50 auction and passed in at £17,000 on a reserve of £20,000.)

Over 600 farms in the Richmond district change hands every 12 months, according to Lismore auctioneers. They stated that there had been a steady decline in the sale of going concerns. From the owners’ point of view, these were not a good proposition, and more money could be made from share farming. This was borne out by the fact that 39 applications were received in response to a recent advertisement for share farmers. However, this would also indicate that many of the people could not secure accommodation in Lismore and wanted to get on a farm where the cost of living was cheaper , he said. The majority of farms offering for sale today could be classed as second and third class properties....

Despite continuing dairy desperation and rural destitution Mr Anthony went on to a stellar career and held Richmond until 1957, when his death intervened and the seat passed to his son, who sat on it for another 27yrs, also with a distinguished service. The communists were kept on hand and milked at every election into the 1960s. The cows were kept on life support and enjoyed a long-lingering death from the subsidy drip until Saint Gough showed mercy. The farmers drifted to greener pastures and Richmond stagnated through to the late 1970s, while Norco, a once internationally-known brand name, continued to fade from memory.

And in Nov1964 'The Barons of Molesworth Street', Messrs McIntosh, McLean, Robertson, Brand and Opie, the owners of Northern Star Ltd and Richmond River Broadcasters Pty Ltd (Radio 2LM Lismore), bundled their media interests, inclusive of controlling stakes in subsidiaries The Tweed Newspaper Co Pty Ltd (Murbah), Gold Coast Publications Pty Ltd (Southport), Casino Newspaper Pty Ltd (Casino), Tweed Radio and Broadcasting Pty Ltd (Radio 2MW Murbah) and Richmond-Tweed TV Ltd (Channel 8 Lismore), into the entity Northern Star Holdings Ltd, which was listed as a public company in Mar1965 and within a few years had gobbled up more media outlets to become a monopoly media vehicle delivering conservative homilies between Kempsey and Beenleigh, although it hardly mattered politically - the media rarely influences anybody and the Star group played to a regional audience that would’ve evolved with a Presbyterian-flavoured corporate culture anyway. The music changed following the takeover tricks of Westfield/Lowy in 1986, at which time pagans in synch with a different rhythm of life were reshaping the regional culture and conducting a new media orchestra.
(See under 'Newspapers' at http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~aliens/references.htm for a potted history of the local media.)

[Disclaimer: This is a subjective outa-my-depth over-indulged segue into factors irrelevant to those affecting the regional economy, and hence the ups and downs of the Greek cafes, but the political history of the Richmond-Tweed deserves a separate professional book - along with the settlement patterns of the Scots and Irish, or Proddies and Micks. While enclaves biased one way or another arose throughout the region, they all danced to the same rhythm of country life, the differences only ever in the choreography, despite the Presbyterians providing most of the political, commercial and media music. Through to the 1930s the Catholics consistently outnumbered the Presbyterians 2 to 1, while the combined weight of both groups was always less than the Anglicans.
(See http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~aliens/annexes.htm for religious distribution.)
(See http://freepages.history.rootsweb.com/~aliens/electoral_statistics.htm for thumbnail sketch of early electoral history.)]



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