History comes back home to honour soldiers

ABOVE: Barbara Collins and Roger Bailey worked together to get new honour boards in the Rappville Hall.

Susanna Freymark

The four honour boards in the Rappville Hall that were destroyed in the 2019 bushfire have just been replaced with new and better versions.

The boards were intended to be finished by Anzac Day but circumstances and the work involved in reproducing the cedar boards delayed the unveiling to Saturday, May 20.

Resident Roger Bailey was a driver of the project to restore the boards that hang on the shiny, white walls of the new hall.

Harry Armstrong in Casino made the boards using gold leaf to list the names of those who served in wars.

Cabinet maker Dennis Rouse, sign writer Harry Armstrong and Gary Smith from Casino who helped.

On Saturday, the hall was so packed, people were spilling out of the room.

On stage, Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow said if anyone wants to know what war is like, watch the film Saving Private Ryan.

Mr Mustow read out a letter to the community from Governor General David Hurley.

Mr Bailey stood on stage and admired the “dedication to detail” by Mr Armstrong.

“Harry, literally burnt the midnight oil but never cut a corner,” he said.

Malcolm Olive, Neil Burnett and Keith Cole.

The original boards were made by Brown and Jolley in Lismore in 1917.

Some names that should have been on the original boards weren’t.

“This was an opportunity – we added incomplete service,” Mr Bailey said.

The Last Post was played. The crowd stood, heads bowed for a minute’s silence. They sang the national anthem.

Then, long time Rappville family members unveiled the boards.

Betty Braithwaite and June Gulliver unveil the World War I honour board.

Resident Barbara Collins who was integral to the project coming together was thrilled with the look of the honour boards.

It was like history had come back home.

“It feels like we are getting our community back to where we were,” Ms Collins said.

Barbara Collins, Keith Cole and Neil Burnett.
The new Rappville Hall where the honour boards have been hung. Photos: Susanna Freymark
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