Prison trucks arrive at jail

The final photo of Grafton Jail staff after the picket line disbanded on day six of the Grafton jail community picket line in 2012.
The final photo of Grafton Jail staff after the picket line disbanded on day six of the Grafton jail community picket line in 2012. Debrah Novak

UPDATE: 11am

Watch the embedded video to see Debrah Novak's capture of the emotional scenes at the jail this morning

Photos from the morning are also online in an attached photo gallery.



Waltzing Matilda plays on the pipes, correctional staff salute the jail while the crowd sings. It's all over.

We are following the march back to front of the jail. It's a heart breaking walk.


All six trucks have left and police say the crowd has been a fine example. Correctional officers will march now

The gates are opening.

Families of inmates gather including many aboriginal families whose loves ones will be ripped away from their homes.

6.58 am

Prison trucks will pass in two minutes   A police line forms between the public and the route the prison trucks will take, people are reminded not to push forward or approach the trucks.  


The sun has started to come up and we are moving to the other side of the jail for final goodbyes


Local Member Chris Gulaptis is at the scene.


We're waiting outside the jail for the prisoners to be loaded up.

4.40 am

The piper is playing amazing grace at the jail entrance. The crowd has gathered round and is singing.


Sharryn Usher speaks to the media, "We demand answers."

"We will pick ourselves up, we will dust ourselves off in our time of need," Mayor Richie Williamson.

Mayor said this is one of the darkest moments in Grafton's history.

It will now be another two or so hours until prisoners are ready to depart.

Shane O'Brien is doing interviews with the media. Now Mayor Richie Williamson will speak.


The crowd turned their backs as the six prison trucks rolled onto the jail. They kept their backs turned in quiet contemplation. Quiet that was apart from sobs.

From the crowd to police, "Sir when O'Farrell comes for Coffs we'll come and support you."


Mark Holahan from Coffs Clarence Command says he understands we are upset but we have to do this as quickly as possible. There are about 15 officers holding the line to allow access for the trucks to the jail.

Police are here and have addressed the very peaceful crowd.


Tony King has arrived. Sharryn Usher is mentioning the fact aboriginal people are being moves tonight away from their country which will make their rehabilitation harder. She said all we asked for was consultation. "they walked away from us."

Police will be here right on 4am. The criticism of riot squad has worked as they are saying it's not a riot squad any more.

3.49am update:

We know the trucks and riot squad are on their way...should be here within minutes.

Shane O'Brien is delivering a final speech with instructions that it will be a peaceful protest. There are tears, applause, a good supportive crowd.


**Editor's note - apologies for any typos, spelling or grammatical errors. I was filing firstly by iPhone and now by the camp fire.

Topics:  grafton jail jobs picket line protest trucks

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