Blue Crowned Motmot bird

Think again if you imagine this Central American nation to be another lawless hellhole awash in drugs.The people of Costa Rica (‘Rich Coast’), known as ‘Ticos’, live by the code of Pura Vida, an infectious mixture of “no worries” and “stay cool”, which results in a cohesive society full of optimism.


It has had public schools for all since the 1880s, free healthcare and civilised labour laws, major drivers of this wonderful place.
My wife, my sister-in-law and I joined nine others on a two-week tour through the country with our guide Xander and his trusty sidekick Pappy piloting the bus. For those readers of a certain age, these two were very reminiscent of Pancho and the Cisco Kid.


San Jose the capital sits in the elevated Central Valley surrounded by active volcanoes. After the spectacular flight in, we found the main road into the city was being repaired so our taxi driver took us by the ‘scenic’ route, a bit daunting, with dusty shanties and much barbed wire.

The Bright Hour

A Memoir of Living and Dying

Nina Riggs

Text 310pp $29.99

The last three books to hit my desk from Melbourne based Text Publishing have concerned living and dying, two of them by female authors, one Australian (Cory Taylor), the other American (Nina Riggs), who both passed on soon after completing their manuscripts.

The third, Thirty Days - A Journey to the End of Love, is by Jewish-Australian author Mark Raphael Baker (The Fiftieth Gate) who has written beautifully about his relationship with wife Kerryn and her death of a rare bowel cancer relatively soon after diagnosis.

It took just thirty days, the prescribed Jewish mourning period for a spouse, for him to complete the memoir of a married life that had consumed three happy decades of the couple’s life. His earlier book, an account of his parents’ Holocaust experiences, had taken many years to complete.

Primary Health Care Excellence Awards 2017

The North Coast is home to an eclectic range of health services, from mental health initiatives and Indigenous support, to allied health and cancer screening collaboratives. Good health care comes from more than just primary health, which is why North Coast Primary Health Network’s (NCPHN) Primary Health Care Excellence Awards invited submissions from all in 2017.

The 2017 Primary Health Care Excellence Awards welcomed submissions from individuals and programs from both primary and social care. The inclusion of community organisations makes this a truly unique celebration of excellence within Australia.

Third year group of UOW students

University Centre for Rural Health Lismore welcomes UOW Students


In July this year, 21 University of Wollongong (UOW) third year students began their longitudinal 12 month placement in our region. They will be living, studying and learning across the North Coast University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) footprint of Murwillumbah, Lismore and Grafton.

Dr Ric Milner

Studies are increasingly showing that appropriate exercise is a valuable aid in helping reduce the risk of acquiring cancer, and improving outcomes during and after treatment, writes Dr Ric Milner*. Following diagnosis with metastatic prostate cancer, Dr Milner began “to explore the benefits of exercise and the appropriate application of exercise with cancer”.

Ric Milner’s personal story can be read here.

Although it is relatively early days in assessing the value of exercise as a therapy for cancer and treatment related conditions, there are significant signs that the body can, and generally does, react positively to appropriate physical activity.