Spending long hours on the road, travelling around the country to bring you inspiring stories is what we do. And each story is special to the team
that works on it. One such story is on page 102 in this issue. It became known as ‘The Brians’ as it did the rounds in the office, as two Brians feature prominently in it — Brian Mcatee, the president of the Lions Club of Townsville–castle Hill, and Brian Egan, founder of Aussie Helpers. Eighty per cent of Queensland is now drought declared and the two Brians have joined forces to assist those on the land who are struggling. For this story, we spoke to cattle farmers Michael and Jodie Knuth, who the Brians have helped, and their words bring the harsh reality of drought into focus. “I’m not always strong. Some days you feel rickety and wound-up: you can see what’s going wrong, but you feel powerless to do anything. It wears you down. You hear about people committing suicide and you can see how they get to that point,” Michael told our writer Claire Mactaggart. I’ve always thought caring for our rural communities shouldn’t just come to mind in times of crisis. Showing your support can be as simple as buying produce at a farmers’ market, or deciding to holiday in a regional area. A great example of how a country town has used food tourism to benefit the local economy is Orange, in central-west NSW, and it is the focus of the first in our Campaign for Country series, starting on page 63. Recognising talent and innovation is an essential part of this Campaign — and there is a lot of it out there as our acting associate editor Catherine Mccormack discovered when she worked on New Generation on page 66. “The energy around all these people is most inspiring — a can-do spirit. They were all great, but I loved Lachlan Cooke because I wished I’d been confident enough to start up something meaningful and steer the direction of my life so boldly in my teen years.” I think that’s something many of us can relate to.
Enjoy the issue.