Thursday, 30 September 2010

Hillston Show is a great day


Last Sat was a perfect spring day for the Hillston Show. It's not a big show but is a great opportunity to meet everyone and have a chat, enjoy the pavilion, watch the races like "Young Farmer Race", eat good food and exclaim at the fireworks. Events such as this have incalculable community value.

The range of fruit and veges grown in the area is truly remarkable

One of the competitions is the tallest weed! (My model was over 6 ft)

And what would a show be without machinery and farm stuff ...

or rides.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

A big weekend for Hillston Church

I was very proud of the folk of Hillston Uniting Church the other weekend. On the Friday they had a luncheon to raise money to send Christmas boxes overseas for Operation Christmas Child. The church (and many members of the town) have collected enough stuff to fill 100 boxes but needed $1000 to pay for the shipping costs. Thanks to the hard work of the team they raised over $1600 at the luncheon.

Then on Sun it was a special service at the church with many extras. Not a problem to our congregation who managed to feed everyone and have food over.

As you can image I was a bit loath to ask them to back up on Mon and Tues and provide catering for the Rural Chaplains Network meeting (more on this to follow) but they not only did a great job but did it with a minimum of fuss. I and the other Chaplains were most grateful.

I'm sure by the time everyone left on Tues afternoon everyone was ready to never see food again!

The photo is an attempt to show some of the caravans parked in the church grounds for the Chaplains meeting.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Some small steps forward for Enngonia


A small, but enthusiastic group of community residents met in Enngonia a few weeks ago to think about some things that they could do to help strengthen Enngonia. Despite half the group having to leave to fight a grass fire there was some excellent brainstorming. One of the great ideas to come out of the day was for the school, Birrang Aboriginal Corporation and the Enngonia Aboriginal working party to join forces and start capturing some of the oral history of the Aboriginal Elders in the district. I think some really interesting stuff will come out of it.

If you would see some of the other small projects that they have in mind the document is under the "Newsletters and articles" heading on the Blog site.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Planning for the Future

Recently five Shires in this area were successful in obtaining a Federal Government grant to work with communities to plan for a future with less water. As part of this process a series of community meetings have been held and Hillston's was on Monday. This planning is being done in preparation for the release of the Murray Darling Basin water sharing plan.

Stage one of the process was to look at various scenarios with those who had gathered. The next stage will be to look at drivers and issues and then do some future planning in stage 3.

One of the things I find most hopeful in this project is that the Shires involved (even though they are quite small by the State standards) are actively looking ahead and thinking about strategies rather than just relying on what they have always done. It is symptomatic of the self-help attitude in the bush.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Mental Health in isolated areas is hard


I've written before about the problems of mental health in the bush and I'm not the only one. The following is from Garry Hardingham, who is a flying padre with Uniting Church, based in Cloncurry in Qld. To see the rest of the story and learn what happened to the young man click on Garry's newsletter on the right-hand side of the page under "Newsletters and Files'

Dear Friends,
The gun was lying across the front dashboard of the ute as he fumbled for the door handle and almost fell into the front seat. His wife ran out the gate and threw his wallet in through the front window just as he took off in a cloud of dust. This time he wasn't coming back. This time he would solve everyone's problems. It would be quick, decisive, final. His anger had welled up so high that now there was nothing left to feel. Just a daze before him as he roared out the gate and onto the road bound for something....but what?

I was having breakfast when the call came. A frantic mother calling from across the other side of the country. She'd heard that her son had taken off and was, understandably, worried about what he might do. But what could I do? Apart from maybe call the police. There was a history of her son's anger, but this was something else. She pleaded for me to do something. But, the reality was there was really nothing I could do, until he'd done something, whatever that might be.

As many of you will know, dealing with psychological issues in the outback is a hard thing. There are few, or often no, counsellors, let alone psychologists or psychiatrists about. There are no mental health units or psychiatric hospitals. And the distances and isolation can often mask the seriousness of a person's mental state....... (read the rest in Garry's newsletter on the right hand side of the page).


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