Susie Dunn – As a child…

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susie dunn

As a child, I always thought Henny Penny was such a feather-brained (!) chook. She created an enormous fuss when an acorn fell on her head, running around the farmyard shrieking that the sky was falling.

People often run around panicking when, if there are truly serious threats, we should think very clearly, consulting together to hammer out solutions.

Henny Penny commentators can create all sorts of fears, when more sober experts like the Reserve Bank see things as holding steady. Locally we need the creation of new businesses and employment opportunities. We are all instrumental in the successes and failures of our home.

Greg, my local friendly pharmacist, chatted as he took my blood pressure. He said neuroscience showed that when people have face-to-face conversations and contact with others, their blood pressure is good — even if the conversations are very intense and animated, good chemicals are released.

Social interaction is vital for health: being solo and lonely is bad for your health. Here it’s easy to chat to people and build networks – another big tick for us. All sorts of things can open out, and if you make an effort, there really is something to interest everyone.

Thank goodness our amateur sport doesn’t have the taint of sports corruption we hear about elsewhere. Countless people, for love of their games, volunteer to enable teams and events to function in a multitude of sports.

An example, Evan Quaife has given 40+ years to football in various roles and tells me we have about 1,200 kids playing in junior football teams here. Dedication is repeated across all the sports, and we owe a collective debt to all those passionate people. The Sports Council’s Steve McMillan says last year a whopping $16,204,581 came into our economy through sporting events. Estimates for January were $2,652,015. Volunteers across communities are a hallmark in the bush. The Hospital volunteers are solid gold. Music is another stream threading its way through the community. Our marvellous long-established Symphony Orchestra, Youth Orchestra and all the other local and visiting groups give us a feast of opportunities. The Conservatorium’s success promoting self-expression, intelligence and creativity in the region has been publicly recognised. And so it should be.

And its dedicated teams have gone out to tiny hamlets, giving school children live music for the first time. The central hub is NECOM, steered by Director Suzanne James, who sees boundaries there to be pushed. The indefatigable Peta Bligh is bringing Opera in the Paddock to Lazenby this year on April 1, and to the paddock at Mimosa, Delungra, the next day. Teddy Tahu Rhodes is back (after his unforgettable trip last year!) as well as a great cast from major companies. These are special experiences.

We are regularly spoilt by the Belgrave Cinema’s first releases and with special showings from the UK’s National Theatre and New York Metropolitan productions, plus their Film Club. Locally, ADMS has supplemented their terrific live shows with some excellent play-readings. The schools are no slouches either.

Meanwhile, NERAM’s new director Robert Heather is settling in and gathering people behind him as he takes the gallery into the future. I recommend a regular outing to check the happenings, to have a coffee and one of those blood pressure lowering conversations.

The Business Chamber and Business Enterprise Centre are scheduling some serious activities for business in the district and its future directions.

Ultimately it’s always for the stakeholders to brush aside any falling acorns and make their future happen.

In quite close succession, the city has hosted two Vice-Regal visits: firstly NSW Governor David Hurley and his wife, and then Governor-General Peter Cosgrove and his wife. I cannot imagine they would be anything but impressed with the realities on offer here. And three cheers for Kath Wray OAM.

What would I say to Henny Penny? Keep calm, and stop carrying on. We can work our way through any inevitable problems if we work together. Finally, Barnaby Joyce, our Federal MP, is now Deputy Prime Minister. I wonder how that will affect us?

Susie Dunn.

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