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Boys take to the streets in brand new billycarts

By David Gordon

Eleven boys. Eleven men. Five billy carts. One very large hill. The scene was set at this year’s Bangalow Billy Cart Derby for a team of young boys from Uncle to take on Bangalow’s main street in a fleet of new billy carts, funded by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation.

Over the three months leading into the derby, the boys and their adult mentors spent considerable time designing and constructing their dream machines in preparation for the big day.  The hard work paid off with the boys being placed third in the home-grown section and third in the novelty race.  Even more important was the impact of the program overall on the boys themselves, according to Uncle’s Chad Kolcz.

“This project was about handing down skills that can only be taught by spending time together in the garage,” he said.  “It’s about having someone who believes in you as a kid and forging the confidence that you can build something. The experience helped develop a positive sense of self for the boys involved and the opportunity to gain skills, some of which are being left behind by the digital age.”

The project was funded by one of 25 grants awarded by the Northern Rivers Community Foundation to local projects taking place in 2012. To date the NRCF has given away more than $500,000 in funding to support worthy projects across our region.  While the race is over for this year, the billy carts and their drivers will be back again next year. Perhaps we may even see the two carts that were deemed ‘unroadworthy’ before this year’s race make their debut appearance in 2013!

For more information about the Northern Rivers Community Foundation or to make a donation, please visit

Photo: NRCF Director John Callanan, Max aged 10 and Saul Goodwin from Uncle. 

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