Summer in the Back Country

I’m sitting at the computer with dust storms swirling around the town (see Nigel and Jackson’s amazing photos), contemplating the 48-degree heat. As I commented the other day, you know it’s hot when the candles melt, droop and fall over and no one has actually lit them.

Recently, Nigel had occasion to speak to two cycling enthusiasts, who had caught the train from Sydney to Ivanhoe complete with pushbikes, camping gear and water bottles with the intention of riding to Mungo National Park (about 200 km). A very worried farmer had tried to dissuade them and then rung Nigel to ‘enforce’ the message.

When Nigel asked what they were going to do when the temperature reached the forties they replied that they’d take shelter under a tree. I imagine that our previous visitors are all smirking right now at the idea of even finding a tree to sit under, on the Balranald Road but there you have it!

Nigel arranged for them to get a lift to Hillston (in the publican’s ute) where at least there would be trees and signs of life along the way. I don’t think they realised just how deadly their trip would have been.

There’ve been quite a few such occasions when the boys have stepped in to save people from themselves – like the time that Nigel noticed a station owner staggering out of the RSL Club towards his truck. He promptly took the keys off him and told him he’d be staying in town for the night.

When Nigel and Jackson’s BAS  training was ‘fast forwarded’  it ended a drink-driving era that saw locals occasionally drive in to town, drink at the club or pub and then drive home. In fact, apparently years ago one of the local property owners would fly their plane into town for a few quiet ales and then fly home, occasionally buzzing the pub if he’d been asked to leave.

When RBTs started in earnest, the Bush Telegraph lit up like a Christmas tree. Random conversations in the street started to include: “So, is Nigel working tonight?” Of course, me being me, I assumed they were just making conversation until Jackson put me straight.

By the way, Nigel was again chosen by the LAC to be interviewed on radio 2GB on Christmas Day. Jason Morrison called him ‘Australia’s favourite outback cop’ (don’t tell him that I told you:-) and, needless to say, I was very proud.


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