Thursday, 11 April 2019


During a recent knit-in outside the office of the State Member for Clarence, Chris Gulaptis, the Grafton Nannas delivered a letter to the MP about their concerns about the NSW Government's changes to the status of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) following the recent state election.

The  text of the letter is printed below:

Dissolving of Office of Environment and Heritage
The Grafton Nannas are very concerned about your Government’s recently announced intention of doing away with the Office of Environment and Heritage  as an independent entity.
We have long been worried about the Government’s lack of concern about protecting the natural environment for current and future generations of humans as well as for other life forms.
Government policies over recent years have been seen by many in our community and elsewhere as being a de facto war on the natural environment.
For example:
·         Changes to vegetation laws which have led to a large increase in clearing of habitat which is important to the survival of native flora and fauna.  This weakening of the former laws is also likely to lead to increased topsoil loss and general land degradation.

·         Changes to logging regulations which threaten the sustainability of native forests which belong to the people of NSW – and not to logging interests.  These changes include limiting pre-logging fauna surveys, an inevitable increase in clear-felling, and reduction in  the width of buffer zones along streams. 

·         Failure to protect the health of rivers, particularly those in the Murray-Darling Basin.  For years the NSW Government, as well as the Federal Government, has been pandering to the irrigation industry while ignoring the need to protect river health by ensuring that flows are adequate for river health.  The drought is not an excuse for this folly.

·         Other examples include the cutting of funding to the National Parks & Wildlife Service and penny-pinching changes to its structure as well as the failure to ensure that the existing weak environment laws are enforced and appropriate penalties imposed on those who breach them.

We are aware that the Premier recently stated that her Government would make the environment a priority. 

Since hearing that OEH was to lose any of the limited independence it currently has and is to be pushed into a mega-Planning Department, we are left wondering about what the premier actually meant about “priority”.  Did she mean that she intended to make it a priority to finish off effective protection of the natural environment – something started years ago under the Coalition State Government?  It looks very much like that to the Nannas.

Nannas deliver the letter to Member for Clarence

Saturday, 6 April 2019


Wadjar Regional Indigenous Gallery
Yarrawarra Aboriginal Cultural Centre

The Grafton Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed were invited to contribute to the "One Spirit, One Voice" ExhibitionThe exhibition featured the work of eight talented indigenous artists and illustrations of the work of the Knitting Nannas in their campaigning to protect the environment from unsustainable and damaging development.

As Alison Williams, the Gallery's Creative Director,  states in the exhibition catalogue: "One Spirit, One Voice evokes a sense of connection and of belonging.  It speaks to caring for country and the common growing perception of what that entails."

Before the exhibition opened three of the Grafton Nannas and one Poppa installed a spectacular yarn bomb near the gallery entrance.  It was made possible by a great deal of knitting and some crocheting by Grafton Nannas with contributions from the Lismore Nannas. And the installing Nannas - and the Poppa - were all tuckered out by the time they were finished with the winding and attaching and so on!

Some of the knitting used in the yarn bomb installation.  Photo: L Blain

Close up of three sections of installation.  Photo: L Eggins

The official opening of the exhibition took place on March 30.  It followed presentations on the history of Yarrawarra, some wonderful aboriginal dance and a magnificent buffet lunch which included bush tucker. 

The Nannas' contributions to the exhibition  included material from the Grafton Loop as well as from the Lismore Nannas and others who have been involved in Nanna campaigning. One of the Nannas' prize exhibits was Nanna Erica's Nanna Kerry, that well-travelled and dynamic campaigner from southern Queensland.

Nanna K showing her knitting skills and enjoying the limelight.  Photo: L Blain

Some exhibits highlight what talented craftpeople some Nannas are. The photo above shows various crocheted garments made by Nanna Dorothy as well as her knitted echidnas and platypus and a dangerous-looking multi-coloured snake knitted by Nanna Dot.

And others showed how innovative the Nannas have been in their campaigning.  Nanna Lynette's big knitting needles which have been on tour to various Nanna conferences have always attracted a great deal of interest.

Large knitting needles & big yarn with crocheted triangle.  Photo: L Eggins

And then there were the knitted chains which came into being as a response to the State Government's draconian anti-protester legislation several years ago.  These were used at knit-ins to highlight the Nannas concerns about the authoritarian moves to limit the community's right to protest.  The Nannas remain concerned that these laws still remain on the statute books - indeed they were later strengthened.

Other exhibits included photos of a Grafton knit-in, highlights from three of the Nanna conferences and a copy of the Nannifesto.

The exhibition is open until May 27.

Entrance to the Wadjar Gallery with yarn bombing in place.  Photo: L Blain

Sunday, 10 March 2019


United to protect our water

101 enthusiastic Knitting Nannas from around NSW ( including Nanna Purl Stockingstitch from Cairns) converged on Sydney on International Women’s Day to protest outside Parliament House about the state of our rivers and the lack of effective government action to restore their health. The theme of the protest was “No Water no Life”.

The Nannas came from Loops in the Northern Rivers, Grafton, Coonabarabran, Dubbo, Midcoast, Central Coast, Gloucester, New England-North West, Hunter Valley, Illawarra, and Sydney.

Organising the Nannas for the Martin Place photo
They assembled in Martin Place. After collecting their specially designed T-shirts, they donned them and draped their dramatic red, black and yellow sashes across their bodies suffragette style. Then it was time for the photo shoot with the big banner held above the assorted Loop banners.

Some of the Nannas assembled in Martin Place
Fortunately it was only a short walk to Parliament House but it took the milling Nannas a while to shuffle into position along the tall fence outside our state politicians’ lair. Actually parking the many derrières (some of them reasonably broad) on the concrete fence base led to a bit of a squash. Then the Nannas, in the spirit of the suffragettes, used their sashes to tie themselves to the metal spikes that form the fence.
Northern River Nannas outside Parliament House
Various politicians joined the Nannas on the footpath to hear about the “knagging list” - the Nannas’ demands for political action.
  • Climate action immediately
  • Transition to 100% renewables
  • Every person to have access to potable water 24/7
  • NSW gas ban
  • Protect and respect Aboriginal sacred sites
  • Create a youth advisory panel
  • Revoke anti-protest laws
And the list concluded with:  Don’t forget to keep your promises! (When you think about it, that’s a pretty tall order given the past efforts of many pollies in keeping promises!)

Hunter Nanna ready for action
It was a great day.  As usual there were many energetic Nannas involved in the organisation of the protest and in the making of those wonderful sashes (sure to become collectors’ items!), printing of the Tshirts and making of the very big banner (United to Protect Our Water).


Saturday, 15 December 2018


The Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas have written to their Federal Member, Kevin Hogan, about the lack of Federal Government Action on climate change. The text of the letter is below:

Action on Climate Change

Members of the Grafton Loop of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas and Greed are very concerned about the Federal Government's lack of action on climate change.

It is quite obvious to us and to many other members of the community in our electorate and elsewhere that the pace of climate change is accelerating and that we are going to be subjected to an increasing range of impacts which will cause distress to individuals and communities as well as having major and long-term effects on the economy.

And what is the Federal Government's response to this building climate emergency?  NOTHING.  It has no climate policy.  This is more than astounding; it is appalling and grossly incompetent.  It shows a lack of concern for the national interest and for future generations of Australians.

We are well aware that you now sit on the cross bench - BUT you are a member of the National Party which is part of the Federal Government and you were recently endorsed by that party as their candidate for Page in the upcoming federal election.

The fact that you are sitting on the cross bench does not in any way absolve you from responsibility for the policy of your party or the government of which it is part.

So, Mr Hogan, what are you, as our local member, going to do to remedy this disgraceful situation?

We would very much appreciate a response to this question.

*  *  *  *  *  *  

Four of the Grafton Nannas at their knit-in on 13th December   

Nanna Kerry at her first Grafton Knit-in.