Sunday, 30 November 2008

What is happening to rural service?

I was supposed to be on my way to Sydney tomorrow for a medical and work engagement. I was flying with REX from Orange to Sydney.

The flight was scheduled for 6:30a.m to arrive in Sydney at 7:30a.m. I was notified at 8:05p.m the day before that the flight was cancelled. This means that my medical appointment will have to be cancelled tomorrow with minimal time for the medical people to reschedule their day. I also booked accommodation that can not be cancelled because it was a special deal that required money up front.

What is happening? I am sure that I am not the only person who has been inconvenienced by REX an service that used to be reliable.

We are told that are not enough pilots. This is probably true. Please Rex do not schedule services that you are not able to guarantee !!!!!

Kel Hodge

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The Soul of the Village

I ventured down to Weethallie yesterday for a meeting and found I was there very early. The town was just waking up to a hot and humid day. I had time to observe the old buildings in the village and thought that somehow they did not fit this small and struggling community. The general store for instance was a substantial building as is the The Royal Hotel. It seems that the builders of these establishments had plans for a secure future.
The general store stands empty and the pub no longer has the number of clientele that this premises was built to house. In fact, most of the main street is unoccupied by commercial tenants. To use the medical metaphor , Weethallie is terminal!
Then I met some locals.
The area network service project is called NEERCS and I can not remember why. Some Weethallie locals turned up to share what they and their community are working on. They are involved in a number of projects aimed at improving the quality of life and health in Weethallie. You could say there is life in Weethallie and hope for the future. The town buildings may be empty but the lives of the locals are overflowing.

Kel Hodge

Monday, 24 November 2008

Ladies Day out at Lake Cargelligo

Over 150 ladies gathered for a Ladies Day Out in Lake Cargelligo recently. There were many stalls with clothes, jewellery etc, service providers with information, a fashion parade and a guest speaker - me.
As you can image there was lots of catching up, chats with old and new friends and time to do some Christmas shopping.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

A small community celebrates

The small town of Merriwagga (40km south of Hillston, pop 60) has had a bad week. Two funerals for long term residents in 5 days are hard to take. However the spirit of the community was alive and well today with their annual Christmas lunch and concert. After a fantastic lunch we were treated to a beaut time of carol singing (accompanied by Lorna on the accordion) and skits by the Merriwagga and Hillston locals. An excellent example of the resilience of small rural communities.

Click here to see the location of Merriwagga

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Service Providers in the area

One of the things I have been doing is to help others set up a network with service providers and community members in the Carrathool, Murrumbidgee and Griffith local government areas. The network ran a very successful stall in Griffith during mental health week and gave away lots of mental health material. In the new year the network will be concentrating on different ways to involve older men from ethnic groups such as the pacific islanders. It is great to see how keen people are to work together.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

I've been blogged

I was told on my return to work from annual leave that I had been blogged. Somehow I knew this as I felt somewhat different, linked into the universe in a way that I had never felt before. 
For those of you who have been blogged you will know what a mystical experience this can be if you just let it happen.

It is this new and transformed self that offers the ether and those tapping into it the opportunity to come along on this journey of sharing and exploration.

I must say that I am approaching the end of this year with revived hope in the lives that we lead in the bush. There are challenges that our special and wonderful environment offer us and yet we have the connection with each other and the universe through being blogged and being blessed with each other and our God. 
Rural Chaplain Kel Hodge

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


After the day in Wilcannia I met with a some of the Retirement Units committee in Ivanhoe for dinner. We have been working with this group to get some transportable homes into Ivanhoe so local people can retire in their own area. We had a very pleasant dinner and with DPI planned out a Christmas event for Ivanhoe. This will involve a BBQ meal followed by an outdoor movie. We will also be providing breakfast for those who chose to stay on.

Click here to see the location of Ivanhoe

A Day at Wilcannia

Went out to a sheep day on a property "Corkers Well" which is half way between Wilcannia and Broken Hill. There were about 20 people there from neigbouring properties and all great people. one of the neighbours flew in for workshop. The couple who own the property are ex-bakers from Victoria who sold their bakery and 100 acres and moved out to Corkers Well to raise cattle. They are having the time of their lives.

The workshop in the old shearing shed was a great day and I will probably go back to run some workshops and join with DPI for a Christmas do.

Click here to see the location of Wilcannia

Monday, 10 November 2008

Our fabulous state scenery

As I travel around the state I see some amazing scenery like this at the Macquarie River near Hill End or this sunrise near Hillston. I have also been canoeing down the Lachlan River at Hillston.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

The day the dust blew

Hillston had the best dust storm I have ever seen. The sky turned blood red with the dust in a way I've never experienced. And no I didn't have a red filter on the camera for these pictures.


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