Michael Laurie senior with son Michael Laurie junior at the opening of the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre in Yamba
Michael Laurie senior with son Michael Laurie junior at the opening of the Raymond Laurie Sports Centre in Yamba

Raymond Laurie Complex open

IT took less than 20 minutes after the official opening of the Raymond Laurie Sports Complex near Yamba yesterday for the first kid to get a bleeding nose.

There will be plenty more as the new multi-million centre, funded jointly by the Federal Government and the Clarence Valley Council, progresses through the years.

Yesterday’s minor injury was the only real hitch to the opening of the long-awaited and much-needed sports centre.

The Member for Page, Janelle Saffin and the Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Infrastructure, Maxine McKew, weren’t able to make it yesterday because of parliamentary sittings but through Regional Development Australia representative Ian Tiley, Ms McKew told the audience the sports centre would be a great addition to the Lower Clarence.

“The best town in Australia just keeps getting better,” she said.

The sports centre was named after Lower Clarence sporting legend Raymond Laurie and built on land belonging to the Yaegl Aboriginal people.

In his welcome to country, Uncle Ron (Heron) told of how he and a number of other prominent Aboriginal families of the Lower Clarence had grown up on the site and hunted kangaroos and other native foods in the surrounding bushland.

“This was also the first place I tasted flying fox,” he said.

He explained how they were cleaned and cooked over coals on an open fire.

“They were very lovely food at the time,” he said.

“All they ate was fruit and blossoms.”

He said the land was God’s gift to the Yaegl people.

“You are welcome to stay and have a good time,” he said.

“Look after your country and your country will look after you.”

Mayor Richie Williamson said it was a great day for the sporting community of the Lower Clarence.

“Sport is a passion on the Clarence and it will be enhanced by this new facility,” he said.

“It is a facility the community can be proud of,” Cr Williamson said.

The eldest son of Raymond Laurie, Michael, said the family was honoured to be part of the centre and the day.

He said his father was a rugby league wizard.

“He was known on the Lower Clarence as the Black Diamond,” Michael said.



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