Drove out to Bourke on Sunday/Monday. When first with Clyde I used to do it in a long half day-driving too fast, before we got flash and bought an aircraft. This time went to Mudgee on Sunday evening and got to Bourke about 2:30PM on Monday via Dunedoo, Mendooran, Gilgandra, Warren and Nyngan. My visit had three purposes:-
- to a assist with a documentary film that some of my friends from the Lower Lakes are making which may feature Toorale.
- to attend Geoff Wise’s farewell from the Shire GM position,and
- to give evidence to the NSW Legislative Council Committee which is inquiring into the gazetting and management of National Parks-again Toorale. (All recorded in Hansard)
Had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Called to see my agent friend Trevor Wilson in Warren and got an update on former Clyde stations and staff. Refueling at Nyngan, fortuitously and coincidentally ran into Ken Jury, the driving force behind the film, and the film crew. He accompanied Gail and me for the drive from Nyngan to Bourke. We hardly drew breath on what can be a long somewhat depressing drive. I was very encouraged by the line being taken with the film. On arrival in Bourke I gave the film crew a briefing on Toorale with the aid of a map and some digital photos I had put together.
Much enjoyed the farewell to Geoff and Anne Wise at Kidman Camp on Monday night. I have much admired the way Geoff and Anne have thrown themselves into the Bourke community in the five years they have been there. Geoff, a veterinarian by training, was previously a senior NSW public servant including Western Lands Commissioner. He was also a very valuable member of my Darling Matilda Way Sustainable Region Committee. He is very knowledgeable on water issues, and whilst we didn’t always agree when he had to administer Government policy, we have always been friends and then also strong allies from the time he went to Bourke.
On Tuesday morning my friend John Oldfield (79) of Belalie Station flew us over Toorale with a cameraman filming out a side window in the back of the aircraft and me, wired for sound, doing a commentary on the place, particularly the McCaughey water spreading scheme. Country looks great, but I just hate the neglect and waste.
On Tuesday afternoon I did an interview for the film in the lovely garden at the Riverside Motel before giving my evidence to the Parliamentary Committee at the Bourke Bowling Club. This finished in time for me to join a Board Meeting (by telephone) of the Tandou Board to sign off on the Annual accounts.
Drove back to Sydney via Dubbo and Merriwa on Wednesday. Called on Gail’s nephew, David Dugan who runs the Joe Jones Agency at Trangie. Arrived just on “smoko” and had an enjoyable discussion on water issues with David’s impressive team over a cup of coffee.
At Dubbo we had a very enjoyable lunch with old Bourke friends John and Norine Lack. Gail and Norine were school girls at Bourke together in the 1950’s-Norine’s father Ern Brook was the Head Buyer for Tancreds when their Bourke Abattoirs was the most important sheep and cattle meatworks in Western NSW.