Back O’ Bourke

It’s over twenty years since I last visited Bourke in Western NSW. To be precise, it was March 3, 2000, and my visit there co-incided with a visit by Queen Elizabeth II.

I was working for ABC Radio presenting the NSW Regional Drive Show, and the visit by the Queen to the outback town was a noteworthy event worth covering.

I had a connection with the town, having lived there for a couple of years in the late 1980s.

My producer, Jennifer was also originally from Bourke. Her parents owned the Outback Motel, so we had somewhere cheap/free to stay. We had also both worked at the local radio station, 2WEB, so we had somewhere to broadcast from.

And of course we had great connections with the town. To be honest, it’s probably one of the most memorable moments of my radio career.

Hungerford Field Day 1988

After a twenty year break, I’m super excited to be making a return visit. It’ll be great to see how the town looks these days, and to re-connect with some people I only speak to now on Facebook.

For a few weeks now, my friend Sue and I have been planning a road-trip around NSW. We both feel like we’re in need of a holiday, and an 11-day trip visiting Orange, Mudgee, Dubbo, Bourke, Parkes, Griffith and Canberra (with some side-trips to other interesting towns) is what we’ve settled on.

Planning for this trip has kept me reasonably busy over the last few weeks.

It’s part of the reason why I haven’t blogged so much. Oh, and the fact that life right now isn’t all that interesting. I’ve been experiencing a bit of writer’s block. Every time I’ve started a blog post, I’ve thought “oh that’s boring”.

I guess part of it is working from home. I’ve settled into a bit of a rut, with a blurred line between work-life and home-life.

Mostly, I’ve been staying around my neighbourhood, Surry Hills. This is a bit of chalk graffiti created by a local man who often sleeps rough in a laneway near home. With the lockdown, it’s been a while since I’ve seen Matt. There has been a greater effort in NSW lately to find accommodtion for homeless people. Matt was back the other day for one night only, it seems, and left this reminder to us all.
I’ve done a few social things here and there, including catching up with a good friend for a long lunch today, which started around 1.00pm, and finished closer to 6.00pm. We had lunch at a newish restaurant in the area called, “Henrietta’s” which specialises in chicken (as the name suggests). The food and service were excellent.
We ended off lunch with a couple of drinks further down the road at a bar called “Rosie Campbells”. “What was this previously called?” we wondered for a while. It started with B. Oh, and for a while, it was called the “2000 Bar”. Eventually we remembered it was the “Bentley Bar”, having had a couple of different lives as nice restaurant, and before that as “seedy pub”. We’d been to both iterations. We chatted with someone passing by who told us the food was excellent, and so we’ll be back.

I also caught up with some friends over at Manly the other weekend. When we arrived at the pub for lunch, there was hardly anyone there. By later in the afternoon it was a little busier. But to give you an idea of how quiet things have been around Sydney, the Hungry Jacks at Manly was closed by seven o’clock on the Saturday night.

Also in the last few weeks I’ve made a couple of trips to the Southern Highland. I blogged about one of them the other week, and a week later I was back for the funeral of a former colleague.

I’m super-excited to be going to see some live theatre this week. I can’t remember what the play is called, or even what it’s about. All I know is I received an email from a nearby theatre company that announced the resumption of live plays, and so I booked it straight away.

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