Monday, November 4, 2013

I’m grateful for the Channel Country Ladies Day

My first experience as co-pilot with Roger Crouch

I recently had the most wonderful experience attending the Channel Country Ladies Day (CCLD)   in Noccundra. I most likely would never have had the opportunity to cross the landscape that covers south-western Queensland and leads into South Australia and the Northern Territory, had I not been invited to be part of this annual event. The CCLD brings together women from across outback Queensland, and the gathering showcases the best of country hospitality and local -which can be anything in a 500km radius- arts, craft, fashion, and extraordinary produce (ie beef). Note: this is not the best place to be a vegetarian!

 Yoga at sunrise with Wendy Brabazon

As a keynote speaker talking about my writing journey and sharing some practical skills with soon-to-be-authors, I was grateful for many things, but at the top of my list are the following:

With the talented and beautiful Jacqueline Furey and Bev Killick

NEW TIDDAS: part of my journey to Noccundra was the chance to travel with other invited,  city gals; comedian Bev Killick  from Melbourne, and burlesque babe Jacqueline Furey from  Brisbane. We arrived together via a small plane into the town of Quilpie (see previous blog)  and then road tripped it out to Noccundra the next day. Stopping for photos of emus, cattle,  eagles, landmarks and lunch at the Eromanga Hotel – Eromanga   is touted as the town  furthest from the sea!

COMMUNITY CANVAS: Quilpie artist LynBarnes coordinated the development of a paining that over 30 women added their own touch to. I had a go myself, careful not to ruin the beautiful foundation Lyn had done. It’s the only attempt I’ve ever made at anything in terms of visual arts, and I am grateful to have been part of this communal effort. 


MARVELLOUS MOSAICS: I’ve always wanted to have a go at doing a mosaic table or mirror and with the guidance of artist Scott Maxwell I finally had the opportunity to learn the process and again be part of a communal piece of art. The finished piece will feature at the entrance to the Noccundra Campdraft Ground shed. 

ROGER and MARJ CROUCH: The event, like many around the country relied heavily on the  goodwill of volunteers. Two beautiful people I met at the ‘Hilton’ (okay, I really meant at the dongas where we stayed) were Roger and Marj from South Australia. Marj came to my  writing workshop with a plan for her book, and Roger gave me the most extraordinary time in his light aircraft at day break. Seeing the land from the air was breathtaking, and literally  left me speechless (and that’s saying something!). There are few words to describe the  scene so I hope some of these pics speak for themselves.

 Aerial shots of Noccundra

THARGOMINDAH: The tiny town of Thargomondah has a population of around 250 people and is famous for having the first energy station in Australia, and was one of the only three in the world at the time: Paris, London and Thrargomindah. 

I’m grateful for the ride back to Thargo – as it’s known as to locals – by Kitsa and Girta (pictured above) who are the own’s entrepreneurs, having opened their Coffee on Dowling café only three months ago. 

Situated in the revamped Echidna Place, next door to the Thargo Tourism Office and the local library, the café sits facing the crystal, cooling waters of the local pool. This café is bound to become the hub of local activity with it’s homemade cooking. 

Attached to the café is the Killili Room with walls lined with paintings reflecting life and 
labour on the land. City-slickness meets country hospitality and storytelling at it's best.


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