VIDEO: Governor-General visits Nymboida
THE Governor-General David Hurley made a visit to the Clarence Valley on Saturday and spent time at Nymboida, meeting locals among the burnt-out remains of their community hub at the Nymboida Camping and Canoeing Centre.
After spending time listening to the stories of the Nymboida residents who turned out to the event, Mr Hurley thanked the community for their spirit in the face of adversity.
"Thank you for the way you've come together as a community," he said.
"Every person we've spoken to has commented on that and it says a lot about you and what you love about this particular area and what you want to get it back to.
"I know there's a lot of hard work ahead and it's very daunting and very difficult and mostly very draining but thank you for just letting us into a small section of that.
Governor-General Hurley thanked the volunteers and RFS members for their efforts in helping the Nymboida community, and emphasised the need for the community to remain united in the face of ongoing adversity.
"It'd be easy to give some jingoistic line about how good Aussies are and that sort of thing but that would be a lot of rubbish today because you know just as much as I know that there's a lot of hard work ahead and gathering from conversations you're not the type of people who want everything delivered, you just want a fair go to try and get back on your feet again and that's a very important message to take back," he said.
A special moment of the day was when Mrs Hurley lend a rendition of Happy Birthday to David McIntyre, who had a 58th birthday he won't forget for a few reasons.
After losing both the home he was building with his wife and the house he was living in, he expected a quiet birthday this year.
"Then someone told Mrs Hurley and it got a bit out of hand, but she gave me a special Christmas tree ornament so if the bonsai tree survives I'll have something to put on it," he said.
Nymboida community member Gray Stride said the visit was recognition of the difficulties the Nymboida community faced.
"If this was an isolated event and with the devastation, I would go 'OK the Governor-General is coming out because we got wiped off the face of the earth," he said.
"Now this has become a statewide emergency, covering almost the entire east coast of Australia and to have the Governor-General still come here means a lot to a lot of people here.
"It at least shows that we're not that little isolated village that no-one hears about or knows about or cares about, and that's probably the biggest thing about the visit.
"Today was very important for us as a community to be identified and have that acknowledgment, the rest of the country knows we've been through s---."
Looking to the future, Mr Stride said the community was taking things day by day, aiming for achievable goals to get Nymboida back on its feet.
"We have to keep things small but we're heading in the right direction," he said.