Today, Nigel has taken the police truck to Broken Hill for a new UHF antenna. Mobile phones and police radio don’t work once you’re more than 20 kms out of town. Provided it doesn’t rain, that will be a round trip of just over 650 kilometres.
My interest in old photos of Ivanhoe was sparked by a lovely lady called Olive Huntly, who showed me some photos of Ivanhoe dust storms over the years. When word of mouth spread and people discovered that I had an interest in the town’s history, suddenly everyone wanted to share photos and stories with me. It was a rewarding and welcoming experience.
Sadly, Olive has passed on but I wanted to share a story she told me about how a young girl from Victoria came to be raising a family in outback NSW.
It seems that at 17, Olive was running late and missed her train. While she was waiting for the next train, she noticed a newspaper on the bench where she was sitting and started to read it.
Her eyes were drawn to an ad for a governess in Mossgiel – a town that she, as a city girl, had never heard of.
Olive successfully applied for the job, became a governess and eventually fell in love and married a station owner, settling down and raising a family on Barwonnie Station. Although she sometimes couldn’t help but wonder how different her life would have been if she hadn’t missed that train, there were no regrets. She loved the back country and never left.
Perhaps we can all take something from Olive’s story.
Yesterday I was chatting with the staff at Ivanhoe Central School (population around 40), where I teach casually. In fact, with five or six kids in the class, ‘sickies’ are few and far between so I actually teach very casually – which is great because it has allowed us to go on quite a few sorties ‘back and beyond’.
We were discussing the fact that there was, as yet, no one to replace Nigel. Even worse, Jackson is leaving the following month and there’s no one to replace him either. We surmised that apart from obvious reasons like having teenage children, who would rather leave home than leave their friends, the lack of interest in special remote policing was probably due to a lack of knowledge and understanding of what’s involved.
So for all those police officers and their partners, who might be considering life in a special remote location, here are some of my own thoughts as the ‘copper’s wife’.
So here we sit, surrounded by cardboard cartons, sipping Champagne (Kaye) and drinking beer (Nigel) and pondering the last two and a half years that was Ivanhoe. We’re leaving here tomorrow with mixed emotions and although it was always meant to be a stepping-stone to get to Paradise Beach, there are many people, places and events that we’ll miss.
I’ve forgotten why exactly, it seemed like a good idea to advertise the Challenger in the school’s Monday News. Obviously, we’d need a car to get out of Ivanhoe so selling it before we left town seems a bit tricky in hind-sight.