Icing on the Cake – Heavens To 2

Comments (0) Susie Dunn

The often-quoted economist Keynes famously said, “When the facts change I change my mind. What do you do?” I’d begun my column, then realised the continuing drought had changed things. And, I found a 2008 photographic publication from Canberra’s Old Parliament House called “Beyond Reasonable Drought”.

This current apparently endless, grinding drought matters, and it’s the people, the animals and the hopes being tested beyond the limits in so many places. Now is not the time to be apportioning blame or radically reorganising. Some of us will change our minds about management for the future, but that’s for then, not now.

People are tested in all sorts of ways. Four years ago, the Yazidi people suffered a genocidal massacre at the hands of Isis and thousands were trapped on a barren mountain with no food or water. Thousands killed and thousands fled.  Armidale has welcomed 24 Yazidi families, and on August 3 they organised a commemorative ceremony, inviting the community to be with them. At the City Church Hall they folded us into a shared understanding of terrible events. Then, through translators, said how much they wanted to become part of our community, contributing to the region. Their lives changed in unimaginable ways and now they look to a different future. The excited smiles of their children can give us hope. Modern Australia is built on migrants and refugees, following the early settlers, and above all, on the First Nations here. 

The future is with us – coming ready or not. Some of the horror stories involving smart devices are simply creepy – a hospital dishwasher garnering patient details, a toothbrush wanting to know your exact whereabouts, a vacuum cleaner wanting to record on your mobile phone … gosh! School children will hopefully learn to deal with these things. I hope they’ll also learn a wider understanding e.g. what if the power grid fails, or is hacked and turned off? Life can function in multiple ways. Thoughtful, questioning, flexible citizens are what we hope our educational system produces.

State Government has picked us to trial a
fully-automated driverless shuttle vehicle, operating firstly at UNE this year, then in town. This one doesn’t fly. Yet? Lots of practical questions, but we’ll accommodate and move on if the vehicles prove themselves.

One of the big questions for us is how rural media will find its future place. I’m proud of the range and purpose of Focus, but we also need mediated regional information, plus ensuring the Bush takes the battle to communicate with the cities right up to them. Cities need our food, fibre and population spread. We definitely need new, better strategies to promote ourselves.

Congratulations Guyra’s James Jackson, elected president of NSW Farmers at its annual conference. May he fight the good fight. A UNE appointment catching my eye was Professor
David Lamb’s as Chief Scientist of the Food Agility CRC. An interesting concept.

Now: the curious range of Armidale’s café zoo culture. Paper Tiger and The Fat Hare have joined Fat Goose Crossing and 2 Goats and a Baa. Best wishes to them all. Who knows where the next culinary animal will graze? Plus, good to see where Courtneys traded for so long now with mother and daughter team, Anne and Belle, opening their “eclectic” store mixing old, new and local.  

Got to the fundraiser for the ACCKP sponsorship of Bevan Quinlin’s Rotary Study Exchange to Denmark. Say “hullo” to Princess Mary for us, Bevan! 

Glad to have been here for NERAM’s opening of Myf Gullifer’s clever, fun, naughty sculptures. Catch them if you can! Sadly, there are lists of events I’ve missed because of others … I particularly regret ADMS’s Heathers, as well as the wonderful International Film Festival at the Belgrave. It’s truly impossible to see everything.

I got to the Business Chamber Awards night though! Promoting positive, switched-on approaches to business conditions, this year’s Awards were notable for the predominance of young people. Business of the Year was Meralli Solar.

Armidale’s Sustainable House tour is September 8/9, with a range of offerings. Guyra’s Passion on the Platform Degustation (plus Train!) is September 15.

Susie Dunn

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