Above: Jyllie Jackson with Bundjalung man Uncle Gilbert Laurie at the Lantern Parade 2022. Photography by Natsky Copyright - www.natsky.com.au

On the wintry night of 25 June, one of the year’s shortest days, people of all ages took to the streets with lanterns in all shapes and sizes. These ones were a tribute to the locals who used ‘tinnies’ to rescue neighbours trapped in the perilous floodwaters.

 Just how deserving was Jylllie Jackson’s Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Australia Day honours was born out by the success of her ‘baby’, the Lismore Lantern Parade, on Saturday 25 June.

 Now nearing its third decade, the parade was the city’s biggest community event since the Feb-March floods.

 ‘I’ve been on many committees in Lismore and Nimbin over time – Skillshare, Nimbin Birth and Beyond, Lismore Women’s Health Centre, Family Support Service - and I’ve been a Community Health representative,” Jyllie told the Lismore App after learning of her award.

 She came to Lismore when she was 25 and brought her children up in Nimbin. Since 1994, she’s been involved in organising the annual Lismore Lantern Parade. It was her previous work in Hong Kong helping with lantern festivals that inspired to bring the concept to Lismore.

 The festival has become an important event on the Lismore calendar, helping to bring people together after the 2017 flood and now in 2022 after the worst weather event in the region’s recorded history. 

 ‘Even when Covid was here, we still did the parade and we sent lanterns all over Australia – and we’ve travelled all over Australia to other events,’ Jyllie said.

 ‘It’s in our DNA. It’s about our adaptability and resilience as a community.’

Photos by Natsky - Copyright - www.natsky.com.au