Monday, 22 February 2010

The wet certainly makes for interesting travel


Some of you may be aware that there has been good general rain across large parts of NSW. Happily this includes the far west. However, sometimes the water causes a few problems for those of us who are trying to travel the roads.

On Wed I had a meeting in Broken Hill so had to head out Tues. It was quite a trip but thankfully I was travelling with Danny Byrnes, a Drought Support Worker with Industry and Investment, NSW. After meeting Danny on the road we went and had lunch with one of the bush's more excentric characters, Mick Huntly. Mick lives and works on the farm by himself during the week and then goes to Hay each weekend to be with his family. Unfortunately this situation is not all that uncommon as many families have to have off farm income to keep going, but live too far out for people to commute.  

 All was well until we got 15km out of Ivanhoe and hit the water. Over 200mls had fallen in the area. After walking the track we decided it was OK and this turned out to be the case as we got through with very little trouble.

However, the best part of the trip was the countryside that had turned green. It was one fantastic sight after another with lots of lakes all over the place, green growth everywhere and livestock who were walking around with big grins on their faces. Even the emus looked like all their christmas' had come at once. I still find it remarkable how quickly this country recovers. As they say out here "just add water!".

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Follow up on mental health issues


I'm sure people must wonder why we keep talking about mental health issues in the bush or anywhere outside Sydney, but lack of services is very real. Here is a comment that I received to my post on Sunday night and with Julie's permission I have reproduced it for you.

"The services are pretty inadequate in most places.. can't imagine how bad it must be out there in the real bush. Did you know that when you ring the national mental help hotline they take your details etc and then say well someone will get back to you. In my experience lately with ringing regarding my dad it took three days. Admittedly he wasn't in danger, but I rang them for myself a couple of years ago and it took a day and a half. They do tell you to call an ambulance if it is urgent but how many mentally ill people will do that. This issue is huge and mental health needs way more funding. If there is ever anything I can do to help from here pls let me know." Julie Holt, North Coast

Julie's story is not unusual and I very much appreciate her sharing it with us.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Blighty plans their future


Blighty is a very active community down near the Murray River. Last week they came together to think about some priorities for the next 12 months. I facilitated a session with about 12 community members, from 2 weeks old to longer term residents, and some service providers looking at the strengths of the area and how they could be built upon.

Looking at educational opportunities and using the talents of some of the locals were two of the top ideas.

It was an excellent session with some great outcomes and it will fantastic to watch Blighty over the next year as they put some of their priorities into effect.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A great night at Goolgowi

Over 100 people gathered in Goolgowi on Friday night to hear John Harper, a farmer from Stockinbingal, talk about getting over depression. John is always a great speaker and Friday night was no different.

His message was well received by the audience and prompted much discussion.

After the excellent meal and John's talk, the music started and the dancing started. Many of the couples belong to an old time dance group and the standard of the dancing was terrific. There were also some dances for the kids and all in all it was a great family time.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Network focuses on a small community

The very small community of Goolgowi had an awful suicide at the end of last year that has had quite an impact on the community. In very small villages like this where everyone knows everyone, all are affected by something like this. Often if provides a rallying point for the community and in this case they have come together to raise money for the family and suicide prevention.

The Rural Service Providers Network whose area takes in Goolgowi met in the village last Tues to look at ways of supporting the community. As a result of the meeting it was decided to meet with the locals to see what they think might be useful. One of the things that has been organised was a night with John Harper (see tomorrow's post).

The Network also decided to look at mental health services in the area. Most providers in the room felt that services in the area were very inadequate so an audit will be carried out and at the next meeting the results provided to local MPs.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Celebrating Australia Day in the Bush

Carathool Shire has a joint celebration across the shire even though it covers a very large area. This year it was Rankins Springs turn to host the event and they decided to have a brunch. So under a beautiful setting of spreading trees and green grass over 150 people gathered for fellowship, to applaud amazing efforts by the nominees, hear the very entertaining ambassadors, Judy Nunn and Bruce Venables, and watch a great exhibition of whip cracking on horseback. It was a fantastic way to celebrate being Australian.
If you would like to see what it takes to win an Australia Day award in the bush you can find details of the nominees here.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Moderator visits Hillston

We were very privileged to have the Moderator of the NSW/ACT Synod, Niall Reid, visit Hillston for a week. Niall heads up the Uniting church in NSW but decided to make time in his busy schedule to visit some rural areas in Jan. He spent some time in Lake Cargelligo, Tullibigeal and Rankins Springs and then came on to Hillston. He was able to spend time with local members of the congregation and encourage them, as well as see some of the local sights. Paula, his wife was able to come out for the weekend and stay on for the Australia Day celebrations. I was delighted to see that both Niall and Paula had lots of opportunities to talk to locals at the brunch.

And of course we had to take Niall for a kayak on the Lachlan River, which is looking a bit sad at the moment with very little water, but still lots of birds and a wonderful sense of peace.


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