RAPPVILLE  COMMUNITY 

Rappville is a small village in Northern NSW, Australia.  At the 2016 census, Rappville recorded a population of 169 people. 

The Sydney-Brisbane railway line passes through the village, although the station has long closed and associated buildings have since disappeared. The most prominent building in the village is still the Commercial Hotel, also known as the Rappville Pub. The village contains a post office, an Anglican church (St. John's, which celebrated its Centenary in 2011) and a primary school. 

An additional local item of interest is the remains of a bush tea tree still: distillation of tea tree oil from native bushes was a subsidiary occupation for farmers in the area, until it was replaced by production from commercial plantations in the 1970s. Commercial cultivation of the local tea tree plant, Melaleuca alternifolia, which is native to the area and thrives in the flat, seasonally swampy habitat that surrounds Rappville, is now very successful. In a 2013 article, Main Camp Natural Extracts near Rappville was described as "the world's largest commercial plantation" of tea tree for oil, with 1,500 hectares of tea tree under production at its peak, with half of that figure remaining as at 2013; according to the company's website in 2019, its Myrtle Creek property currently spans some 4,300 ha and using sustainable practices, regenerates over 30 million tea trees each year on laser levelled land.

The area which includes Rappville lies in the traditional lands of the Aboriginal Bundjalung Nation, and contained speakers of the Birrihn (or Biriin) dialect. 

In October 2019 the village was devastated as a destructive bushfire that started in Busby's Flat raced through the residential area, leading to the loss of at least 15 houses although no lives were believed to have been lost. The village's pub and primary school were saved although the hall was destroyed. The fire also resulted in significant damage to the Sydney-Brisbane railway line, loss of local power and telecommunications infrastructure, and closure of adjacent highways to traffic in several places. 

Richmond Valley Council will commence the construction of a new community hall for Rappville after the original hall was destroyed during the 2019 bushfires. This important project is being jointly funded by the Australian Government, BizRebuild, a bushfire-recovery initiative of the Business Council of Australia, and Council, through its insurance funds from the loss of the hall. 

Below image: Courtesy of Mel Pitman

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