Showing posts with label New England. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New England. Show all posts

Monday, 29 July 2013

So Barnaby Joyce is in the Clarence Valley today

Nationals Senator Barnaby Joyce, the Coalition’s candidate for New England at the forthcoming federal lower house election, while clinging on to his senate seat until the last possible moment is down in the Clarence Valley today opening fellow Nationals Kevin Hogan’s Grafton campaign office.

It is a wonder Joyce would show his face in the Valley, given he sat on the Senate RRAT Committee inquiry into additional water supplies for south-east Queensland where he made it plain at that time that he was not adverse to any proposal to steal Clarence freshwater so that his Queensland mates could continue their unsustainable irrigation practices [April-August 2007].

He also voted against The Greens motion in the Senate which read in part:

"That the Senate:....(b) calls on the Federal Government to: (i) abandon plans for damming the Clarence, Tweed, Richmond and Mann Rivers;" [C'wealth Hansard,Senate,proof issue,19 August 2007,p.p. 33-34].

He was still including mention of the Clarence catchment in his discussions on water supply in 2008:

"You can't create water with money. That means you have to think about bringing it from somewhere else, like the Gulf or the Clarence." [The Land, 13 August 2008]

While according to The Clarence Valley Review on 20 February 2013 the leaked  ‘100 Dams’ draft consultation paper mentioned the Clarence River catchment area:

Joyce has this to say about these latest dam proposals:

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Monday, 18 October 2010

What is in Armidale's drinking water?

Authorities must undertake an immediate audit of Armidale city's water supply. I'm not referring to its quantity, but rather its quality.

An Armidale resident has a letter to the editor in today's Daily Examiner that provides abundant evidence that a brain-destroying contaminant is in the drinking water in at least one Armidale home.
Click on letter to enlarge. 

Here's The Daily Examiner editor's response:
One of Stephen Heaney's strongest claims is that the fishing industry would benefit if fresh water was prevented from entering the river by being diverted elsewhere. That would be news to the fishing industry. For years the industry has fought tooth and nail to prevent diversion, recognising that natural river flows are essential to the health and therefore the viability of the fishing industry. It recognises that floods and freshes can cause disruption but, like farmers, understand their value to the productive capacity of the valley.

Also from the editor: 

We must fight any proposals to divert the Clarence.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Farewell to New England

The last planned stop made by the touring group before heading for home was in the small township of Tingha, which (just quietly, for fear of scaring the few remaining horses) has seen better days.

We examined the town's main street where most of the buildings are boarded up and could only imagine what a bustling place this would have been in days of yesteryear.
We considered grabbing a bite to eat at the local pub. However, the lunch time menu (served between 11am and 3pm) left a little bit to be desired. The menu provided diners with a choice of two offers, both priced ever-so reasonably at $5 - a beer and a pie, or a beer and a sausage roll. We thought long and hard about it but finally concluded we should head east and have another look around Guyra.
It has to be said that the business owners and residents of Tingha we spoke with are indeed a happy mob. While quick to point out that its glory days are well behind it the townsfolk stressed the advantages they enjoyed of residing in the small township.

Like so many other towns we visited Tingha will enjoy the benefits of the federal government's "Building the Education Revolution. Ms Gillard's $$$$ are being put to good use at Tingha Public School where a new school hall and COLA (covered outdoor learning area) are under construction.

The window display in the Wing Hing Long Museum was indeed very interesting ...
... but unfortunately for the group the signs in its window indicated that was as much as were going to see.

Credit: Image of museum

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Myall Creek

After Bingara, the group travelled north-east towards Inverell and about midway along Bingara Road between Bingara and Delungra we visited the site where the 1838 Myall Creek Massacre was perpetrated.

The massacre of approximately 30 Wirrayaraay people at Myall Creek, the subsequent court cases and the hanging of the seven settlers for their role in the massacre was a pivotal moment in the development of the relationship between settlers and Aboriginal people. It was the first and last attempt by the colonial administration to use the law to control frontier conflict between settlers and Aboriginal people.

The Myall Creek massacre is outstanding in the course of Australia's cultural history as it is the last time the Colonial Administration intervened to ensure the laws of the colony were applied equally to Aboriginal people and settlers involved in frontier killings.

The Myall Creek Massacre Memorial consists of a large granite boulder with a plaque, erected on a hill overlooking the site of the massacre at Myall Creek. The path winding up to the monument has seven smaller rocks each containing some of the story, with a seat opposite each rock and situated under trees.

The Memorial brought together the descendants of the victims, survivors and perpetrators of the violence in an act of reconciliation which had implications for the whole community. On 10th June each year a commemoration ceremony is held at the site.

The site is becoming more frequently visited by non Indigenous people who are slowly becoming aware of the true history of Indigenous Australians and the struggle since the invasion.

The Myall Creek Massacre and Memorial Site was added to the National Heritage List on 7 June 2008.

1. Dept of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts
2. "Blood On the Wattle - Massacres and Maltreatment of Australian Aborigines since 1788" by Bruce Elder, published by National Book Distributors (1988

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

News and Views in Bingara

Bingara's local newspaper The Advocate (published weekly) has a circulation of about 1000 copies.

Its latest edition features a front page report about the North West Film Festival to be held at The Roxy on September 17. The festival is "open to emerging filmmakers, students, young people and members from isolated communities across the New England North West region of NSW."

The Advocate also carries three letters to the editor:

1. "Lost Souls" are wandering round and round and up and down the streets of Bingara during the day and night in their "chariots" with the windows down so that all may hear their music.

2. The local Cancer Action Group's appreciation of community support on Daffodil Day. $2305.50 was raised - that's a totally amazing amount for such a small population.

3. Visitors to the town in motorhomes are bludging off the community by not paying camping fees.

But, shock! horror!

A report titled "Senate vote varied" informs readers that The Sex Party was not as popular at Upper Horton as it was in Bingara. It received only one vote in Upper Horton, but 17 in Bingara!

And, if that wasn't enough to scare the socks off the good folk around Bingara, the real devil was in the detail. Four voters in Bingara gave their #1 preference to the Communists.

(Editor's note: To ensure balance and objectivity is maintained in Clarrie's report, it is acknowledged that there were 19 One Nation supporters but the Greens managed to get just 3 #1s.)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

In and around Bingara

The touring party really took to Bingara, which is a neat small town that appears to be well serviced. We drove and trekked around the township and its surrounds and engaged in numerous conversations with the locals.

A prominent building in the central part of the town is The Roxy (pic, left above). An art deco cinema built in 1936 and recently restored, it's now a multipurpose venue, cinema and performing arts centre. The 7th North West Film Festival will be held there later this month.

Breakfast at The Regent Cafe was quite an experience - our tour captain was almost overcome by an attack of nostalgia as he tucked away a bushman's brekkie that consisted of a T-bone steak and fried eggs topped off with a very liberal layering of Holbrook's Worcestershire Sauce.

Others in the party preferred the home-style scrambled eggs on toast (and, in case you're wondering, tomato sauce was readily available). Terrific vanilla milk shakes were served up in metal containers that carried scars and dents inflicted in years of yesterday.

Friday's Legacy Day fund raiser took the form of a raffle - the prize was a load of chopped fire wood. We reckoned that was an excellent prize, given the local area's climate and demographics.

While Bingara seems to cater well for the needs of locals and visitors we couldn't help but wonder what the place might be like in another 20 years. Its current population (approx 1200) has a significant skew towards those of mature and very mature ages (about 50% of the population is 55 +) - they are well catered for (pics below show the civic centre, town hall and senior citizens rest centre), but what will the town be like in 2030 when most of those citizens have moved on.

Monday, 6 September 2010

What's in the news in Armidale? Part 2: The New State Movement ... still!

Again, in Wednesday's Armidale Express, Jim Belshaw who's been known to beat the New State drum more than once, is at it again.

Belshaw, who writes at his blog site New England, Australia and is not one who's known to be backward in coming forward, has called upon Tony Windsor, the Independent MP for New England, and the other 'country' (that's Belshaw's description, but I'd prefer to call then 'rural and regional') independents to do three things:
#1. Support the holding of a convention about state and commonwealth powers
#2. Support the holding of a (yet) another new state plebiscite in Northern NSW, and
#3. Apply a test to any specific initiatives to determine if the proposal has any real longer term impact on New England development, or whether it is just a 'band-aid'?

I have no real quarrels about #1 and #3, but as for #2 ... here we go round the mulberry bush again!

It seems Belshaw and the Mad Hatter from North Queensland are top-and-tailing it in the same bed. Belshaw is (figuratively) at the bottom end of the bed while the Mad Hatter is occupying the bed's top end

The Northern Star (Saturday, September 4) in a piece titled 'MP pushes for region to be split' states:

Bob Katter would have the Northern Rivers split in two, with towns such as Byron Bay, Kyogle, Mullumbimby, and Nimbin moving to Queensland, while places such as Lismore, Casino, Ballina,

The Channon, and Suffolk Park remain in NSW.
The split is part of a wider redrawing of state borders proposed by Mr Katter, which includes creating a new state of North Queensland, handing a big chunk of the Northern Territory to an expanded South Australia, and a rebranding of the Top End as North Western Australia as another new state that takes out the northern end of Western Australia.

The renamed ‘South Queensland’ would extend from Bundaberg south to Byron Bay, creating the Northern Rivers split.

Mr Katter’s argument is that the new division of state boundaries would let Australia better exploit its natural resources, improve farming in the north, and would accommodate an extra 100,000 people.

The idea would have to go to a referendum and is unlikely to ever see the light of day. It’s worth noting that the idea – although raised by the Kennedy MP as recently as last week – did not make his list of 20 ‘priorities’ handed to Labor and the Coalition on Thursday.

Here's a suggestion for both Jim and Bob: You need a cuppa tea, a Bex and a good lie down.

Sources: The Armidale Express (September 1) and The Northern Star (September 4)

Signwriting 101 - near enough is obviously good enough

Sunday, 5 September 2010

What's in the news in Armidale? Part 1: UNE

Having resided in Earle Page College during my under graduate days a few years back (Editor's comment: Nah! It was many moons ago!) I was somewhat upset when I picked up Wednesday's edition of The Armidale Express and saw its front page report (pictured above).

The University of New England is undertaking a $4.6 million program to have its seven residential colleges comply with fire code standards.

But, here's the rub. While the project covers all seven colleges, it's being done in two stages and for EPC only its ground and first floors will be upgraded in the project's first stage.That means the second (i.e. top floors) in EPC will be closed for accommodation purposes in 2011 so EPC will have to cut its student intake by 100 in 2011.

Credit: pic The Armidale Examiner

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Walcha news

When touring around the countryside it's interesting to see what's in the local news.

Here's a sample of Walcha news:

Bruce Rutherford in this week's Apsley Advocate comments on the recent wet weather in the Walcha district and then puts things into a broader global perspective. Well done, Bruce!

Meanwhile, Coogee over at the Walcha News has a par about expiry dates.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Walcha to Bingara via Manilla and Barraba

The travelling party was given a tip for a top place to dine in Walcha on Wednesday night - the Apsley Arms Hotel. After studying the menu at great length it looked odds-on that the restaurant in the hotel would be serving us up with one of its specialities, the mixed grill.

The description on the menu for the grill had us watering at the mouth - T-bone steak, lamb loin chop, butcher's beef sausage, bacon, eggs, onion and chips. Priced at $24 a head, we thought we were on a good thing. But, out of the blue came a recommendation from another diner in the restaurant, "Get your laughing gear around the Wednesday night house special - T-bone with salad n chips or veges. You blokes will have trouble finishing it off, the T-bones are gi-normous!"

We could read that bloke like an open book - he was frank and upfront and knew his stuff.

So, having ordered T-bones, the party settled in for refreshers that came in the form of nicely chilled Boags in schooner glasses.

Almost before you could say "Jack Robinson", the T-bones arrived at our table. And, without a word of a lie, the steaks were half the length of my outstretched arm. Mine was medium rare and melted in my mouth. We took the recommendation of staff member Wayne and had a glass of house red ($5) to accompany the meal. And what great value that red wine was! it came from a bottle of Penfolds that sells for over $25 when it's on special.

The evening was rounded off with a lively forum in the hotel's public bar where topics covered included Racism in Oz in 2010 to local rugby, the ups and downs of local businesses and the bloke/sheila on the land .

Speaking about The Land, when I went along to the local newsagency on Thursday morning to purchase a copy of the local paper, the Walcha News, which is published just once a week - on Thursdays - the owner of the newsagency told me the business had the highest sales for The Land of any outlet anywhere in NSW. To prove the point, I was shown the details for last week's sales - 321 copies were sold last week!

After a solid breakfast, had at Cafe Graze (again!), the touring party departed Walcha and headed off to Bingara.

Along the way, the party inspected Bendemeer, Manilla and Barraba. Sadly, solid evidence of towns in serious decline was observed in all three locations, but it has to be said that Manilla has all the appearances of being a cot case - emergency resuscitation could be called for, but the vital signs of life are perilously low that if a second opinion is called for, then it could well be that a decision might need to be taken to euthanise the patient.

Barraba and Bingara are impressive small country towns. They have a real sparkle about them. Local residents who we had short yarns with seem pretty happy with their lot in these places.

A site in Manilla created a bit of curiosity for the party. What's the background to the naming of the bridge shown below? Doesn't it seem odd that the name is still being used? Wouldn't you think the local civic fathers and mothers would be a bit more politically correct and move to have its name changed?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Uralla, Walcha and their hinterlands

First stop today was Uralla. The town centre's streetscape is highlighted by the New England Highway that runs north-south through the town's business district.

A panoramic view of Uralla can be had from a lookout on Mt Mutton which is to the west of the township.

If one spends any length of time in this small township then one simply has to check out the grave of C19th bushranger Fred Ward alias "Captain Thunderbolt".

A very interesting conversation was had with a local wool merchant who provided us with a detailed account of how the wool buying firm purchases (mainly) local fleeces and exports them to China.

Morning tea was had at Uralla's Galloping Gourmet. The cake we had featured apples, dates and coconut- it was absolutely scrumptious. If you're ever in Uralla you simply must taste the GG's cakes.

We then journeyed to the east of Uralla and visited the Gostwyck area where the focus is a quaint little village that is now privately owned. Although we were not able to visit the village or the nearby Deeargee woolshed we did manage a stopover at the Gostwyck chapel.

Then, it was off to Walcha, via Kentucky. This very productive sheep and cattle country appears to be set for a very healthy spring and summer. Dams are full and streams are flowing. Actually, we were somewhat surprised to find one causeway was still covered with water and that necessitated a committee decision about whether we should navigate the waters or opt for an alternative form of action.

After much deliberation the consensus of the touring party was that we couldn't wimp it - no such obstacle was going to prevent us reaching our planned destination, Walcha.

We arrived for a rather late lunch at Cafe Graze, which proudly boasts that it enjoys 2010 SMH Good Food Guide status. Lunch was a very generous helping of Sweet Potato and Pear Soup, accompanied by thick crusty toast - just the tucker for us as we prepared for a coolish afternoon.

An afternoon walk around the township enabled us to chat with a number of locals. One couple of mature-aged citizens gave us a very detailed description of major flooding the Walcha township experienced when it was inundated by a raging Apsley River in the early 1960s. These days the town is protected by flood walls on both sides of the river.

Another local, a long-term teacher at the local central school, gave us a detailed account of buildings in the town's centre.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The journey of a modern day Marco Polo

Toothbrush and toothpaste packed ... check ... yes!

Righto, preparation for the journey to the New England area was complete.

Day 1 ... left the flood plains of the mighty Clarence behind and headed west.

First stop ... Glen Innes where the early European civic fathers (and, perhaps mothers, but I doubt they had much say in things at the time) had the foresight to plan for an urban centre with good wide streets.

Unlike most touros, who take the shortest route from A to B, a conscious decision was made before departing home that a fair bit of time would be spent meandering around the backstreets and roads of the study area.

And, what delights Glen Innes and Guyra proved to be.

Morning tea was had at a quaint tea and coffee shop housed in GI's town hall building (pictured above). And, it was a delightful bargain! The special of the day was home-made poppy seed cake (with cream, of course) and a mug of tasty coffee for the princely sum of just seven bucks.

But, the best part of the stop-over at GI was the opportunity it provided to catch up with the "news" of the day according to a couple of cockies who sat at the table next door. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, but the cockies were yarning at a level that was way off the decibel register and their topic of the day was The Merits of Snakes in Australia.

Cocky 1 remarked that snakes were on the move again on his property and that was a sure sign things were beginning to warm up and that spring wasn't far off. Me thinks, should I tell him that it starts on Wednesday? Nah, I'll keep my big trap shut.

Cockie 2 responded, "Ya know, I reckon the best thing about snakes, especially red-belly black ones, is that they make great belts."

Considering the girth of Cockie 2, I reckon he'd need at least half a dozen of the poor b*ggers to successfully complete a circumnavigation around his waist.

Then, off to Guyra. And it, too, didn't disappoint.

First thoughts were that Guyra's central business district was far too quiet and not much should be expected of the small township where I had the misfortune to get stuck on a number of occasions when hitch hiking to the university city to its south and had to cuddle up in makeshift sleeping arrangements and await a next new day before resuming my journeys.

Memories of lazy, biting, bitterly cold winds that went straight through you rather than do the proper thing and blow around you were in the distant past. The day was marked by a few low, ground-hugging clouds (typical of the tablelands) but for the most part it was a gorgeous sunny day with, I suspect, the mercury hovering around the low double digits.

Then, off to Armidale.

A couple of hours were spent exploring the township and the grounds of UNE.

First impressions of the city's CBD gained in the mid afternoon were confirmed via a second site inspection in the early evening ... the mall area is a disaster. Pedestrian traffic in daylight hours was almost non existent - there were very few signs of any post stimulus spending activity to be seen, although good tucker and coffee was had at an establishment a few doors to east of the NAB in Beardy Street.

Dinner was had at a newishly refurbished eatery and watering hole known as the Whitebull Hotel in Marsh Street - in its previous life is was a bl**d house called the Club Hotel. The food was 5-star, the staff were most pleasant and a local vino Peterson's Dangar Shiraz was exceptional (pity about the hotel's wine list describing it as a Danger Shiraz).

Again, it was impossible to avoid hearing the conversations of a group of diners at the next table. The group, who were well heeled and showed no signs of being short of a quid expressed hopes their local federal MP Tony Windsor and his maverick mates would saddle up with Ms Gillard's team - they reckon the stimulus $$$$s made a heck of a difference to their local economy and without it things in the commercial world around the area would indeed have been very ugly. I was in no mood to disappoint them and tell them I reckon it's a done deal - in my mind the three stooges have already crossed the rubicon and it's just a matter of time while they wait for the ink to dry on the memorandum of understanding they've signed up to with Mr Rabbit et al.