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The Weekend Australian - Review - - Contents - Greg Med­way Re­view this­[email protected]­tralian.com.au

Four years ago, my part­ner and I de­cided on a tree change and moved 350km in­land from Syd­ney to a lit­tle coun­try town of 2200 peo­ple. It has been a re­newal, an awak­en­ing.

Each day starts with my early morn­ing 6km walk across a gor­geous coun­try­side of un­du­lat­ing hills. The track is leaves, bark and twigs. I walk past a won­der­ful ar­ray of Aus­tralian gums and the oc­ca­sional wild peach or plum tree, and I hear and see a mob of merino sheep chas­ing down clumps of tasty grasses.

I lis­ten to a flock of noisy corel­las mov­ing be­tween gum trees, and see a mix­ture of galahs and sul­phur-crested cock­a­toos busily eat­ing the left­overs be­side a parked grain truck. In the dis­tance the sound of crow­ing roost­ers echoes across the land and mag­pies hap­pily sing a wel­come to the new day.

I walk past houses with wooden front ve­ran­das, from an era in th­ese towns when fa­thers phys­i­cally built the fam­ily home. In the small front yards flour­ish hardy plants and many rose gar­dens, re­flect­ing a by­gone era.

In this town there is no rush hour, no driver com­bat­ants, no vic­tory in gain­ing a car space.

The sin­gle-gauge rail­way line that linked our town with many other lit­tle towns has long gone; its sad rem­nants ap­pear spas­mod­i­cally among weeds and be­hind fallen fences. The men who phys­i­cally built th­ese rail­way lines 100 years ago have been long for­got­ten.

My part­ner and I have joined many small groups in this NSW town, and we ex­pe­ri­ence the kind­ness and care for peo­ple that had been ex­tracted out of us in the big smoke.

A new neigh­bour re­cently ar­rived, and tells us he lived on Syd­ney trains for three years un­til a good Sa­mar­i­tan pro­vided a home for him in our town. A group of lo­cals has ren­o­vated a des­o­late home, which now pro­vides a sanc­tu­ary for fam­i­lies do­ing it tough. The town has a free Christ­mas Day lun­cheon for the lonely and for fam­i­lies in awk­ward sit­u­a­tions.

A neigh­bour gives us ap­ples; we give ex­cess gro­ceries to a sin­gle mum and sin­gle men un­able to work or find work. I have chooks so we en­joy free, free-range eggs ev­ery day.

I have re­turned to the mood and feel­ings of my child­hood, when we cared for each other, when my grand­mother and my cousins lived around the cor­ner, when we made fun in our own back­yard, when we all went to the same school, when we didn’t have much money and we could dream about be­ing great with­out any fears.

I have re­cov­ered what I lost a long time ago: the real care and love for other hu­mans.

Bless th­ese unique and beau­ti­ful lit­tle coun­try towns — you still pos­sess the soul of our sun­burnt coun­try.

wel­comes sub­mis­sions to This Life. To be con­sid­ered for pub­li­ca­tion, the work must be orig­i­nal and be­tween 450 and 500 words. Sub­mis­sions may be edited for clar­ity. Send emails to In 2018, who was in­ducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame? What is the colour of the hor­i­zon­tal stripe at the bot­tom of the flag of India? How many teams were added into the 2019 AFLW com­pe­ti­tion?

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