Barraba finds voice on an international stage
August 20, 2021
The Barraba Community News is ready to take on a worldwide readership with a brand new website thanks to the hard work of Northern Inland locals and a $22,417 Strengthening Rural Communities grant from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR).
The Strengthening Rural Communities (SRC) program aims to give the thousands of small rural, regional and remote communities across Australia an opportunity to access funding to support broad community needs.
Supporting community needs is exactly what Barraba’s community-based newspaper does. The paper sprang to life when the town’s 120-year old Barraba Gazette ran its final edition in early 2020. Community College Executive Officer, Alison Heagney quickly saw an opportunity for the Barraba Community News to be owned and operated as a community enterprise. Within a few short weeks of the Gazette’s closure she had mobilised a small group of volunteers and a local editor to produce the newspaper under the auspices of the College. The first edition of the Barraba Community News hit the streets of Barraba in May 2020.
“The paper has a devoted readership who like to get their news in a variety of ways. Traditionally rural communities have a large elderly population and farmers who need to get their news in print but we’re seeing a trend now with city people relocating to the regions and they will want their news in a digital form. The college is meeting the needs of a diverse group of local residents who can now connect with what’s happening locally in a way that suits them — online, by email, or in their letterbox! The development of the Community News website is also very important in helping Barraba maintain a voice at a regional, national and even international level.”
Funds from the Strengthening Rural Communities grant will be used to purchase laptops for the newspaper’s volunteer staff and a high volume printer to keep up with the pace of the paper’s weekly production. Rural residents will be thrilled that grant monies are also being channelled toward the cost of mailing hard copies of the News to their rural roadside mailboxes. Residents in town will still be able to collect their copy from most of the main street shops.
Community College Executive Assistant Kylie Randell, who joined the college in 2020 was delighted with the success of the grant application and monies she helped secure.
“As a not-for-profit charity the college relies on the support it receives through grant funds that we use to provide services that are not just about adult education but also help to maintain spirit and build strength in our communities. The local newspaper is a vital service, informing and connecting people in Barraba and the wider district.”
Driving the paper’s growth and remarkable popularity is local editor Bronwyn Clinch, who is well known throughout the region for her past work as Executive Officer of, what was initially, the Barraba Community Learning Association. During her 30-year career in adult community education Bronwyn oversaw the Learning Association’s transformation into Community College Northern Inland which now operates seven campuses covering six local government areas spanning the region’s 98,000 square kilometres. Bronwyn’s belief that learning is for life hasn’t faltered—in the last two years of her ‘retirement’ she has learned to become a newspaper editor and to manage a news-based website through the addition of a variety of content!
The new website, which is accessible on any device, was designed by local web design service Waterfall Way Designs.
Get your local news online when it suits you by visiting www.barrabacommunitynews.org.au. Click on Contact Us to sign up for the weekly news emailed straight to your Inbox, or if you prefer to read your news in print simply keep an eye on your letterbox for your free weekly copy!
To contribute news content or take out advertising phone Bronwyn during business hours on 0447 165 008 or contact the College office in Barraba on (02) 6782 1661. Bronwyn can also be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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