Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wauchope Rural Roundup

No, I don’t mean the herbicide, though there are plenty of places here that would readily sell it to me. I have just arrived back from a week in Sydney and found a pile of local newspapers on the doorstep. So it just seemed like a good time to look in our local newspapers at what is happening around Wauchope and district.

In Town & Country, the approaching Anzac Day is heavily featured, especially the Light Horse Reenactment troop that appears to live in the area and who “keep the Anzac tradition alive.” Buffalo fly is apparently a problem in the area currently, and in the opinion of one farmer, you can never have enough tractors. He has forty. Coffs Harbour is hosting the NSW Weed Conference, where “the political landscape of weed management will be discussed.” Innovative solutions are expected.

The Port Macquarie Express is really a huge advertisement sprinkled through with little snippets of local news. You can find them by squinting carefully at the page, where they emerge from the colorful ads like those hidden 3-D images that were all the rage a decade or three ago. Healthy walkers, artistic grannies and children having an Easter party can be found if one has time and patience.

The Port Paper takes another swing at the Council Administrator, this time objecting to his Council-supplied V8 car. I have sympathy with them on this one. Marine theft is on the rise, and the Port Paper took to the streets to see if residents wanted a Myers store. Seven out of seven people interviewed agreed Myers would be a welcome addition. Apparently Port Macquarie is locked in a fierce rivalry with Coffs Harbour in the battle of where the Myers store will go. The rock band ‘British India’ will be hitting Port Macquarie Panthers Club as part of their world domination tour. And of course, there are the columnists. The Zen Solution advocates that we should all take up Zen meditation to slow our breathing and heart rates and thus produce less CO2 than joggers, cyclists and all who breathe deeply. I detect a whiff of climate change skepticism here. My old friend Carp has proved he can actually read by announcing CO2 is a plant food and not a pollutant as expressed in a book by Ian Plimer. I am impressed by his new interest in learning. Chia seeds are making a huge comeback globally.

We also have a Lifestyle magazine. The article entitled “Shades of Green” disappointingly turns out to be about a bowls player. But chia seeds are still a super food and on the comeback trail, though the ones grown in W.A. are inferior.

Lastly, the Wauchope Gazette is delivered full of local news, from the new look Anzac Day, the school Easter parade through to the quest for a new logo for Wauchope. This last one is interesting. What slogan best represents Wauchope? What slogan would make you, the reader, come to Wauchope? Suggestions thus far include “The heart of the Hastings: Wauchope” “Wauchope, the friendly town” or “Welcome to wonderful Wauchope”. More dubious slogans are “Wauchope - a unique shopping experience” (is this a serious proposal?????) and “Wauchope - under new management” (whose new management?).
The editorial on the subject of slogans concludes with the statement that Wauchope is a great place to live and work, a place of huge potential and breathtaking natural beauty.

It certainly is that, but like many small rural towns is suffering. Many of its residents, lured by the glitter of Port Macquarie’s shopping malls and the promise of Myers, are deserting the local shopping centre in droves. This is a shame, as there is an excellent Co-op here that serves the community in the form of two IGA supermarkets, hardware store, department store, dairy and 2 service stations. The co-op’s yoghurt is the best in Australia, if I do say so myself. The supermarkets sell local produce, including boutique cheese from the Comboyne plateau. John is in cheese heaven.

I started this blog with the idea of a news roundup. I find I am finishing it agreeing with the local editor. I am all in favour of supporting local industry and shops, even if they are not a ‘unique’ shopping experience. If I find myself unable to drive, if I want to support local producers, if I need local trades people, then I need to support the local shopping centre now. Much better to support homegrown people and produce, than large corporations who put shareholders, not suppliers and workers, first, and ethical behaviour last.

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