Travelling with Locals

If you want to really see a place, go with a local. So, this Father's Day, Judy and I accepted the invitation of our neighbours to visit Bannongill Station, near Skipton and open for viewing in the Open Gardens scheme.

The neighbours are Locals. Like for Generations. Dairy farmers, now retired with the next generation stuck into the milking, and the retired generation building their dream home overlooking the Southern Ocean.

You learn a lot when you go with locals.

"What's that crop?"
"Pretty isn't it?"
"Imagine how great it looks from the air."

"By golly, the land looks well. I don't think I have ever seen it looking so well."

"This rock is bluestone. That one is volcanic. See the holes?"

"What's that tree?"
"I think it's a planticylagruen floriabundelle."
"That's easy for you to say."

And, of course, they know everyone. And are seriously disturbed if they see people they don't know, presuming them to be blow-ins from the Big Smog. Which, of course, is what we are, except since we know the neighbours, we have vicarious familiarity.

"That's Lydia, isn't it?"
"Yes, you know, Bob Streathem's oldest."
"Oh yes. HELLO LYDIA, enjoying the garden?"
"What a lovely day, eh? And isn't the land looking well. I don't think I have ever seen it looking so well."

Well. I can't say that we have enough history to assess the relative wellness of the land compared with other years, although all the lakes and dams are full to overflowing. We notice that, compared with our many trips southwest this century. And the early crops of Canola are already two foot high (apparently Canola hasn't been metricated yet). And everything is green.

Of course, all this rain is not without its damp side. Bannongill Station sits on a couple of curves of Mount Emu Creek. It flooded spectacularly in September 2010 and again in January this year. Many kilometres further south-west it took out a bridge at Panmure, closing the Princes Highway for a couple of weeks. Markers show how much of the garden was underwater and damaged. It's a tribute to the owners, and to their cash flow, that they have got it looking so good so soon.

Here are some photos, if you're interested. Click here for the Picasa Web Album


  1. Good to see you've rejoined the blogging community. We've missed you. ;) I like the title. I look forward to following along.....


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