The secret world of pigeon racing in Lismore
IS IT a bird? Is it a plane? Chances are if you are on Keen St in Lismore, it is a pigeon belonging to the Lismore Racing Pigeon Club.
This year the club is celebrating 65 years since Alf Lindsay, Jack Walsh, Alan Richies, Clive Richards and Jim Condon started it in 1955.
Club president Paul Steenson said people would be surprised by how much training and commitment is needed to train and race pigeons.
"It's a full-time job if you're going to do it properly," Mr Steenson said.
"It's 365 days of the year if you're going to do it, so there's more to it than people think.
"Everybody has their own stock birds and you breed young ones out of them for next year's racing.
"You've got to train them around the loft, they've got to be fed right, you've got your vitamins, medications if something goes wrong with your birds, so there's a lot into it that people don't realise."
While club membership has fallen from its heyday of 30 competitors to just seven, Lismore still runs a tough competition.
"This year we'll be starting in July, we'll go to Terranora … you build up in 100km steps all the way to Rockhampton, up there you might get them on the day if the winds are right (but) sometimes it might be a two-day race," Mr Steenson said.
But what makes the pigeons come back?
"That's a good question … a lot of people can't answer it and I can't answer it either," Mr Steenson said.
"We don't really know but you breed the birds in Lismore and you take them all the way to Mackay and Bowen and they can come home."
For more information about the Lismore Racing Pigeon Club visit its Facebook page.