Information about work, life and play in Regional Australia

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kimberley Heritage Cattle Drive

In Swimming, Kununurra, I mentioned that eldest was visiting Kunnunurra for the first time. Then in today's Australian Lyndall Crisp had an interesting piece, Three days in the saddle, on her experiences on the Home Valley Station Heritage Cattle Dive. Home Valley is a major Aboriginal owned station in the Kimberley's.

I had intended to write a full companion piece setting Lyndall's experiences in a broader context. Sadly, I cannot download the supporting visual material that I require.

I have submitted a request to Home Valley Station to access that material. In the meantime, do read Lyndall's piece. The video she includes is good, but you need to let it run a little before getting onto the cattle drive itself.    

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sarah discovers the Northern Rivers

La Baracca cafe, Lismore.

Good to see that Sarah Whyte is no longer in the dark about the Byron hinterland's charms. Bit sad, though, to think that Lismore should now be counted as hinterland for the much smaller Byron Bay!

Carping aside, Sarah's story gives a reasonable picture of some of the attractions of the New England/NSW Northern Rivers region.

I also noticed that a new blog has just appeared, Taste Northern Rivers, that promises to explore some of the food of the area. I look forward to reading more.  

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Welcome visitor 20,000

Visitor 20,000 came from Sydney via Google searching on blogs about growing old australia. This brought them to Getting old in Regional Australia. Another topic that I should update!

Welcome visitor 20,000.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Abrams tank, Queensland outback


I hadn't intended to return to Gordon Smith's 2011 outback tour so soon, but I was struck by this photo.

Who would expect to meet a modern tank in the Queensland outback? Actually, I suspect that there is a real story here. But that's a matter for another post! 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Swimming, Kununurra

Now that's a turtle As I mentioned earlier in the month, eldest has been to Kununarra in the Kimberley's in Western Australia to visit boyfriend.

I had wondered what her reactions would be.

While she was born in Armidale, she has been living in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and in some ways has become a metro girl.

She really enjoyed herself.

I will do a proper interview later, but for the moment I just wanted to include this water scene.  

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Brolgas, Bladensburg National Park, Queensland

20110526-outback2011--bladensburg-NP--brolgas Back on 21 July I mentioned Gordon Smith's outback adventure. He has continued his photo tour since.

This photo shows brolgas at  Bladensburg National Park. This is around 16 km (10 miles) from Winton in inland Queensland.

Do have a browse of all his outback tour 2011 photos. I think that you will find it rewarding.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Practicing law in regional Australia: Don Olney

I wrote my first post on this blog about regional legal practice, Practising Law in Regional Australia, back in October 2006.

One point that I have made that I need to return to is that the returns from professional practice in regional Australia all depend upon your needs. I was reminded of this by the obituary in the Sydney Morning Herald of Dubbo solicitor Don Olney. I quote from the first few paragraphs of Malcolm Brown's story.   

Don Olney, born at the end of World War II, was a brilliant student at Normanhurst Boys High School, where he studied under the benign dictatorship of legendary headmaster Tom Pearson and had energy to burn.

He was admitted as a solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court in 1969 and there was no stopping him. He had already met the love of his life, secretary Rhonda Howells, during his daily train trips from Hornsby to the city and had married her in 1967 while still a student.

Completing his articles with the legal firm Baldich, McPherson and Walsh, he found himself a fully fledged lawyer, virile, with a beautiful wife and the world at his feet. But where was he to go?

He went bush, a reverse of the trend of young professionals who prefer the comfort and convenience of the metropolis. During his long and successful career in Dubbo, in central western NSW, he showed just what a young professional could do in a regional area.

I leave you to read the rest. It's just that the story illustrates my point.

Related post: Sydney barrister tree-changes to Glen Innes

Monday, August 01, 2011

Regional Living Australia reader interests July 11

Back in 2007 I wrote a short series of posts on the Kimberley region. Eldest left this morning for Kununurra to visit her boyfriend who is a pilot with Alligator Airways, so I am going to be able to get a direct update. In the meantime, we have reached month's end. 

At the end of each month I look at the most popular posts on this blog to get a feel for reader interests. The most popular posts on this blog in July were:

Friday, July 29, 2011

Country real estate still offers best returns

Yesterday in NSW rental yields by LGA - June quarter 2011, I provided some data on rental yields in NSW. Today, the Sydney Morning Herald carried a story suggesting that Australian house prices continued to decline.

In any in investment house, the final return depends upon the combination of rental yield with capital gain. The higher the rental yield, the lower the capital gain required, the more secure the investment. In those days when I was buying investment houses I did okay because i bought in the country with a starting high gross rental yield by metro standards.

If you look at the rental yields for NSW in yesterday's post, you can see how low Sydney yields are even with recent rent rises. That is one reason why house prices themselves are in trouble.

If you look at country yields, you ace that country yields are higher. The best country returns have passed; in many areas, prices are up. You should have bought two years ago. Still, in comparison with Sydney gross yields remain better, capital gain prospects at least as good.

It remains true: go country if  you want to make money.     

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NSW rental yields by LGA - June quarter 2011

I have remarked before about the way in which investment in regional real estate can provide good returns relative to the city alternative.

The Sydney Morning Herald had an interesting story, Country towns lead the way on rent increases. The following graphic shows increases in rentals for selected NSW LGAs for for houses for the June quarter 2011. The column that I was especially interested in was the one on the far right showing gross rental yields. You can see the range, with highest yields generally to be found in regional areas.

Equivalent figures for units can be found here.



Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gordon Smith's outback adventure

It may sound dumb, but for someone who lived for so long in Armidale I rarely ventured north into inland Queensland. Our focus tended to be east and south, partly because the coast was a place for holidays, partly because state boundaries dictated that so much official business had to be carried out in Sydney.

My father was different. After he retired, he packed Mum into the car with his camera and went exploring. At first his focus was on New England, but then extended to inland Queensland.

There is some fantastic country there. I mention this because Gor20110522-outback2011--carnarvon-national-parkdon Smith whose lookANDsee photo blog is one of my all time favourites has taken his car and camera and headed west and north from Armidale on one of his regular outback tours. Just at the moment he is in the Carnarvon National Park.

The caption on this photo reads: 

This view seems to come from the land that time forgot. Can’t you almost spot the dinosaurs about to push out from between the trees?

You can see what Gordon means.

There are some wonderful photos. If you want to follow Gordon's trip, click on Outback 2011.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Demand for lamb rockets

I don't know about you, but I have almost given up buying lamb. A leg is just so expensive now.

Interesting story in the Country Leader (sadly not on-line) about the changing nature of the sheep industry. The combination of drought and low wool prices has led to a dramatic fall in sheep numbers from 130 million in 1994/95 to around 67.7 million today. This is a one hundred year low.

Now both wool and sheep meat prices are up, producers face a real dilemma in terms of keeping sheep for breeding and wool or to sell their lambs for the meat trade.

Global demand for lamb continues to increase. In the circumstances, I fear that lamb is going to continue to be a luxury so far as most of us are concerned.   

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sydney barrister tree-changes to Glen Innes

Chris Leahy

I see from the Armidale Express that senior Sydney silk Chris Leahy has decided to tree change to Glen Innes.

For those who don't know Glen Innes, it is a historic town on the New England Tablelands with a population of about 6,000.

Chris had worked as a barrister for more than thirty years, ten as a senior counsel, and then he and wife Margaret decided that it was time for a change.

The change means that Chis will be working as a solicitor rather than barrister, but it gives them a chance to find a new life style without Sydney pressures. I quote from Peter Barrett's story:

Mr Leahy ... has ‘absolutely no plans for retirement’.

Indeed, he is looking forward to the challenging but interesting wider range of work in a country practice than he has been used to as a barrister.

The couple will eventually buy a property in Glen Innes but are currently leasing - a lovely old home 3km out of town on about 10 acres’.

While only in the town for two weeks, the Leahys are enthusiastic about what they have seen and are happy with the move.

“It’s the little things we have found pleasing,” Mr Leahy said.

“People are incredibly welcoming, and things like driving to work - no traffic, no traffic lights, it takes just minutes to get a park.

“And we have the impression that the important facilities are well covered, we’re pretty well looked after.”

I have commented before on this blog about the way in which Regional Australia offers professionals of all types new opportunities.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Art Deco Albury

T&G Building Albury One of the things that I love about regional Australia are the variations in architecture. This photo shows the art deco T&G building in Albury.  

Of course you will find this in the metro centres. You will find everything there with some concentrations, but the variations tend to be a little less obvious.

A year or so back, we stayed in Albury on our way through to Christmas at Mt Hotham. I was quite struck by Albury's art deco style.

I was reminded of this by a number of posts on the Australian blog Art Deco Buildings. The posts were in order:

Albury is starting to make a real feature of its art deco style. I think that's a very good thing.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moree - live the lifestyle

I have often remarked about the variety of regional life styles. As this YouTube video says, Moree may not be Paris, but it has its own unique style!

For those who don't know Moree, it is situated in northwest New England 640 kilometers from Sydney and 480 kilometers from Brisbane. Moree has an enthusiastic supportive friendly caring community with a great lifestyle and many great sporting opportunities.

The black alluvial soils of the Gwydir Valley are some of the richest in the southern hemisphere. Moree Plains Shire is the most productive agricultural shire in Australia. Major agricultural industries are cotton, beef cattle, pecan-nuts, olives, wheat, sheep wool, cereal crops.

Moree is famous for its Hot Mineral Baths which originated in 1895. The baths were discovered accidentally when searching for irrigation water. These mercurial waters are from bores sunk into our amazing great Artesian Basin. 300,000 visitors of all ages visit annually. Many believe in the healing powers of the Artesian mineral waters. There are two large hot pools with temperatures ranging from 39 to 41 degrees, A 50 meter 6 lane Olympic Pool, a Junior Pool and a Toddlers pool.


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A frangourou in the New England countryside

Thus blog has been sadly neglected. It's not that I have lost my passion for the promotion of life outside Australia's metropolitan centres, more that the pressures of other writing and dSophie's eggsaily life intervened. This post marks the start of renewed posting.

French born Sophie Masson grew up in Sydney and now lives on a small block outside the university city of  Armidale. Sophie is a very successful Australian writer. Her new blog A la mode frangourou, subtitled a French Australian look at food, is an almost lyrical account of food and one version of regional living.

The photo shows her homegrown eggs. They look nice, don't they?