Heading ever westwards now – the grass is golden, the storybook hills are blue

Too much information? So you look at your watch and you say it's 10.00am? Well, you're wrong – that is unless you are sitting either due north or due south of Charlie here, who is somewhere between Gunnedah and Coonabarabran, on the 150 degree meridian – which is where they settled AEST, so you're all inaccurate a bit compared with Charlie, who rather unhappily  is sitting ON the sundial on the 150th degree Meridian – yes, we found it!

Bill, the Pawnbroker: There he was in the middle of Gunnedah, pink socks, red shirt with purple braces, one of which was undone and fallen down the back of his trousers. ‘Listen mate – can I call ya mate? Those tyres on ya bikes are too soft – look here, too soft I tell ya… so where are ya from ? Where? Never heard of it. Look at this town – what more couldja want? Gunnedah. What you were born here? Gowarn! What’s ya name? Ted? Bet it’s changed since you saw it last – all the years I bin here, lemme see, 73 years, see ’em come and go I have, seen ’em all. I was a pawnbroker ya know. Who was ya Godfather? Nah, really – I knew him well, that lawyer, ‘cos I was a bit of a crook so I needed lawyers quite a lot. He was a fine gentleman that, fine gentleman, not like ‘is son – now that was a bastard…’ We listened for upward of half an hour, wasting time in the sunshine, laughing at his comic antics. He told us, ‘There are just seven things ya need in life and they all begin with ‘f’ : Food – Family – Friends – Finances – Freedom (ya know the kind I mean, Ted, none of this ‘when are ya going to be home for dinner?’) – Fun … and … um (glance at Nancy) …I can’t remember the other one – maybe you can.’

‘Let me fix one of your braces, Bill, it’s come apart.’

Firm friends by the time we parted…

View of Gunnedah from ‘Pensioner’s Hill’ – so named because of the Swaggies who used to hang out there from the Depression onwards, because of the unlimited supply of water from…. Now it’s a sculpture park, courtesy of Rotary (and funds from some mining corporation)
Dorothea McKellar
Dorothea Mackellar, Australia’s beloved poet and keen horsewoman, as remembered in Gunnedah – – Now her family’s homestead outside Gunnedah is being threatened by Whitehaven Coal’s mining of the Liverpool Plains.


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