Monday, 30 March 2009

There's always a surprise around the corner!

Today I had lunch with some of the locals in Louth and during the course of the conversation they mentioned the obelisk at the cemetery, so of course I went to the cemetery to take a look. Imagine my surprise to see the 8M high obelisk! And this in a cemetery that only has 11 marked graves. A small group of locals are trying to raise money to put up a plague with the names of those who are buried there but no-one knows exactly where.

As it's unclear where the graves are (it is a very old private cemetery with graves going back to the 1840's) if they are burying someone it's a case of digging a hole and if you find it is already occupied, then fill it in and dig another one.

I very much enjoyed the 100km from Louth to Bourke as I haven't been here since before the summer rains. The land is now covered in green grass. Of course the water also caused damage to bridges etc.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

NSW Women in Agriculture Conference


Last weekend NSW Women in Agriculture held their annual conference in Parkes. It was a great weekend with the speakers exploring a number of issues associated with Agriculture and Mining, including rehabilitation after mining.

The Saturday night speaker was an ex NT buffalo shooter, seed consultant and now paramedic from Wellington. She gave a very entertaining and enlightening talk that had everyone in stitches.

On the Sun morning I facilitated a brief ecumenical service for those who wanted to attend. It was a terrific time of sharing with the women who came and was a great example of fellowship between Christians of all denominations.


The Riverina Pesbytery of the Uniting Church has been organising teams of volunteers to go to VIC and help rebuild some of the fences that were destroyed in the bushfires. The teams have been working in the area of the Beechworth fires and liaising with the local Kergunyah church. Many of the volunteers are retired farmers who have had fencing experience, but a number of others have not fenced before but are keen to help in any way they can. I was delighted to spend a week there coordinating some of the teams.

After the first month over 50 volunteers have put in over 1000 hours of work. This included pulling down burnt fences, putting in steel posts and running wire through the posts. Local support has been terrific with David at the Dederang Pub providing free accommodation and the sandwich shops providing good prices on lunches etc. Landholders have on occasions also provided lunches for the teams and very nice morning and afternoon teas. The rest of the expenses are being met by the Uniting Church Disaster Fund and donations.

Meeting and talking with landholders has also allowed us to do some pastoral care with people who are still in "shell shock" after the fires and link them with local services and church people if wanted.

If anyone would like to join one of the midweek or weekend teams send an email with dates available to


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