Reflections on an awe-inspiring trip out west
Yesterday was one of those rare days that gets etched into your memory forever.
Words barely do justice to the intense range of emotions I felt – with pride overarching all – as representatives of our little Valley set off to do some real good in the world.
I struggled to choke back sobs as I heard from Nambucca Heads RSL’s Wendy Mills the extent of the outpouring of generosity which had come her way after she put out the call for help – generosity which doesn’t seem to be abating any time soon.
There have been so many incredible gestures, not least of which came from the boys from Berowra (north Sydney) who offered to drive up to Nambucca and transport all the donations across the ranges – and all from the goodness of their hearts.
The landscape changed rapidly as we descended from the Dorrigo Plateau, and then again as we plunged over the precipice of the tablelands and into Tamworth.
‘Dry’ is a cliche but one which I’ll have to content myself with. Everything was just bone dry, and the barren topsoil was being picked up by stirring winds and swept across the bowl of the Tamworth District in the form of dust devils.
I found it inconceivable to imagine battling to feed a family out there in the current conditions, let alone a herd of stock.
We were met at the crest of the descent into Tamworth by the local ute club, their revving beasts adorned with Australian and Bundy rum flags.
Our convoy must have been a novel sight on even an average day, but yesterday, in the midst of an epidemic of despair, we elicited a huge reaction from the country music capital.
Onlookers climbed onto the roofs of their cars to wave and film us rolling through town, cars beeped and flashed us in recognition at every intersection and round-a-bout, and there was more than one hanky being used by some akubra-adorned folk.
Please enjoy my photo essay from our trip out to Tamworth. Much more needs to be said, but this story deserves time and consideration. You can read a more comprehensive report in this Thursday’s Guardian News edition. And keep an eye on the Guardian’s website and socials pages for a full report coming later this week.