Trip to Moree

By Caroline Pidcock

My partner John and I took the early flight from Sydney to Moree, where they were collected by Councillor Peter Strang and General Manager David Aber from Moree Plains Shire Council. We then drove "up the road" to Warwick, a mere 3 hours or so away...! The purpose of going to Warwick was for John to attend the Border Regional Councils meeting. Top on the list of topics being considered was water rights for the Murray Darling River system - an issue very much at the heart of farming communities such as these.

We had interesting and wide ranging discussions on our trip, including the difficulties of looking after nearly 3,000 km of roads with a very low rates base to help. There is not much money left after this to look after other concerns of the rate payers... hard. It is certainly interesting to walk in the shoes of others.

After lunch, we headed back to Moree. David Aber looked after us in the evening, taking us to a small bar and Thai dinner at the Golf Club - very delicious! We then had a good night's sleep at the Albert Hotel which is very quiet compared to Sydney.

The next morning we met up with Councillor Claudia Gall and Nat (from her husbands legal firm). We had a great morning being shown around the wonderful art deco buildings in the town, and doing some shopping at the great shops along the way.

Art deco in Moree

We also visited the wonderful Department of Lands Building, designed by Government Architect WL Vernon in 1892 - sadly rotting through neglect... We must talk to the current government Architect Peter Mould to see what can be done. We also went to the regional gallery located in the old Bank of NSW building - another treasure. The work inside was also wonderful - a real treat.

Moree Dept Lands

We then had lunch at Mayor Katrina Humphries fish and chip shop which was also very delicious - we were certainly spoilt with regards to good food. After an introductory tour of the baths, John and I headed off "up the road" again to visit friends of mine for dinner and sleep over. Nick and Erica Holcombe showed us great hospitality, showing us around their property and hosting a wonderful dinner party. I think Erica is one of the best chefs around! A great night's sleep in the silence of the bush ensured we were well rested. We breakfasted and chatted with Erica (Nick had to go to town early) before heading back to town via the Manchees.

Looking out across the plains

I designed a house for the Manchees - who live about 50 km north of Moree - which was completed about 8 years ago. It was great to see how well loved and looked after the house is, and that Jane and David seem to be enjoying living there. Just as we were about to site down for lunch, David received a call from the harvesters seeking help to move some vehicles in the fields. We all jumped into the car and drove off to assist.

Manchee house

It was amazing to see at close range the amazingly sophisticated headers that undertake the work, while giving accurate readings on yields per hectare, protein levels, moisture contect etc etc. Amazing! 5 of these $500,000 machines were very busy trying to get 1,000s of acres of wheat in before the impending rains arrived - which can easily ruin the long anticipated crops.... What a difficult thing to deal with, when you have absolutely no control over such the thing that might destroy your year's income.

After this great detour, we finished lunch and drove to town to "take the baths"! The 40˚ water that comes the artesian basin delivers great pleasure to many people - predominantly Europeans from elsewhere who understand the healing and relaxin qualities of the baths. A great resource that more people should know about.

A quick stop over at Claudia and Peter Gall's was a great way to say goodbye to Moree before we caught our plane home. I think John now has a much improved understanding of the issues confronting Moree and is interested in seeing how this knowledge can be utlised.

Add Comment: