Ballina Tales

NB: The last ‘Ballina Tales’ event happened November, 2022. Life called me rather clearly after that, to return to my home town, Brisbane-Meanjin. In February, 2023, I left the Northern Rivers, my beloved home since 2000, to be with family and the growing community of storytellers here. I envisage starting events, both online and live, from Meanjin by early March.

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WHAT: Community stories and spoken word, gentle harmonies and simple circle dances.

WHEN: We started Sunday, Sep 11, 2022, 3.30 – 5.30pm Next dates Sunday, Oct 23 and Nov 20.

Details see FB event or Jenni’s Story Tree page.

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WHERE: Ballina CWA Hall, Captain Cook Park, 236 River St. Google Maps may confuse you. DIRECTIONS: The small red brick Ballina CWA hall is in the Captain Cook Park. When facing the river it is to the left of the RSL building. Park on River Street near The Cove Restaurant and walk through.

HOW MUCH: Entry $10. Refreshments for sale.

Ballina Tales’ is a new community storytelling event which started Sunday September 11, 2022. It features community stories, poetry, gentle harmonies and very simple, participative circle dances, lead by an experienced teacher. The host is professional storyteller and new Ballina local, Jenni Cargill-Strong. Her aim is to find one or two people from a local community group each month to answer three questions with a story, Why did you start / join this group? What keeps you going? Can you share your personal highlights or challenges?

Each month, the story-light will shine gently on a local community group. In September that was the popular community performance night, Tintenbar Up Front, which turned 10 years old in September. Jenni was inspired to start her own community story event after telling a story at TUF in 2016. Peter Lino still leads a committed crew of TUF volunteers who put on the popular monthly performance night which delights audiences and raises thousands every year for charity.

Byron shire story lovers may fondly remember Stories in the Club’, the monthly event Jenni curated in Mullumbimby from 2017 until 2019. After two great years, Jenni moved from Mullumbimby to Ballina. Jenni is now a member of the Ballina Community Garden, the Ballina Threshold Choir and the Ballina Greens. She teaches storytelling to Education students at Southern Cross University and tells locally when she can at Tintenbar Upfront, Rous Unplugged and Lismore Live Poets.

“During Covid lockdowns and the floods” said Jenni, “we rediscovered just how vital community is. Yet the isolation and trauma those events created, also frayed some of those connections. Join us as we gather to share stories and songs from the heart.” Refreshments will be on sale. Entry $10. More information and future dates:


*Ballina and the Nyanbul people

There is another Ballina in Ireland and sometimes people google ‘Whats on in Ballina’ and get the wrong town. 🙂  Ballina I live in is on the east coast of Australia, on Nyanbul country, in the lands of the Bunjalung language groups.

The first people, the Nyanbul people, called this area ‘Bullinah’, meaning full belly, but the story goes that the newcomers misheard the word as Ballina and maybe they were also thinking of the Irish Ballina.

The history of of the Nyanbul and their experiences of first contact, including the massacres perpetrated by Queensland native police to the horror of local settlers, is captured in a series of signs as a part of Aboriginal Cultural Ways. It is situated on a beautiful boardwalk in East Ballina. The Coastal Recreational Path at Angel’s Beach, East Ballina stretching north along the coastline to Sharpe’s Beach.

You can also do wonderful cultural walks with Yidabal Galii Maa Aboriginal Cultural Tours.

Here is the Nyangbul seasonal calendar which is quite distinct from the Euro-centric four seasons.




A Stories in the Club audience