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The gold miner and the dragonfly … a modern day parable

macquarie river sketch M.Hogan

Macquarie River. From the sketchbook. M.Hogan


“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the dragonfly.
“Where would I live?” asked the dragonfly.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“I don’t have another river,” said the dragonfly, “This is the only river I have.”

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the frogs.
“Where would we live?” asked the frogs.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“We don’t have another river,” said the frogs, “This is the only river we have.”

The gold miner went to the kangaroos, the platypus, the trout cod (who were particularly hard to find), the wild ducks, the tiny crustaceans, the river birds … he spoke to all the animals and asked them all the same question…

“Will you sell me your river?”
“Where would we live?” all the animals replied.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“We don’t have another river,” said the animals, “This is the only river we have.”

The gold miner was getting frustrated so he went to speak to the elders.

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the Wiradyuri elders.
“Where would we live?” asked the elders.
“On another river,” said the gold miner.
“Another Wambool?” asked the elders. “There isn’t another Wambool. This is the only Wambool we have.”

“Hmmm,” thought the gold miner. “I know what I’ll do. I’ll go to the Council.”

“Will you sell me your river?” the gold miner asked the councillors.

And all of a sudden the river went quiet and every living creature that lived along the river listened intently to what they would say…


Two conversations from the week.

An acquaintance …

“I’m thinking of leaving Bathurst.”
“Where would you go?” I asked, a little stunned.
“To somewhere where they have no environment.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“To somewhere where they’ve completely screwed up their environment, where there is no environment left, where they’ve realised the error of their ways, and where they want to rebuild the environment. That’s where I’d go.”


Dinawan Dyirribang, Wiradyuri elder…

“It’s our life blood because the rivers and creeks are like the veins in your body … they carry blood so you survive … the water that comes down our rivers and creeks does the same thing.”

Please don’t defer the vote on Wednesday councillors.
Please protect the Macquarie (Wambool) River and everything that lives along it.
For now and future generations.

Please vote no.


I’d be grateful if you’d share this one. Two days and counting …


A solitary trek up snow covered Mount Panorama

We’ve lived in Bathurst for 20 years and we’ve never seen a snow fall like this.

Not in the Bathurst valley.

They’re saying it’s the heaviest dump in 30 years.

mount panorama under snow

It started in the wee hours of the morning. Literally. And since Steve was up, I got up and since we were up we thought Darce might as well be up too. 17 year olds love being woken up at 4am to see snow.

4am home

At first light I decided to try my luck and take a walk to see if I could get to the top of Mount Panorama, now also known by its original name Wahluu – Wiradjuri for ‘sacred place’.

As it turned out I had the mountain to myself for an hour. Couldn’t believe it.

Just me, the birds, the quiet silence of snow and the odd council truck.

footsteps and car track in snow


View from the track

the view from mount panorama under snow

brock's skyline

I’d love to see the V8 boys take this on …

looking up the essex

esses mount panorama under snow

mount panorama esses under snow

Frozen, wet feet. Frozen, numb fingers. But who knows when we’ll see something like this again.

A pretty special here and now for our part of the world at least.


A stroll on Olib and a first glimpse of the grandeur that is Rab …

A couple of hours away from Ist is another quiet little gem called Olib.

Again, no cars. Just a few people walking about, most of the ones we chatted to, Croat-American expats, back for extended summer holidays.

lavender and butterfly olib

I don’t know whether I’ve lived in the country for too long but thesedays I feel most at home in places like this. Certainly more relaxed. You can let your guard down. Actually you can forget about your guard altogether.

olin early morning

coffee on olib at the port

We’d seen a big circular version of this on the hillside of Ist. They’re reservoirs.

water reservoir olin

Easy to imagine summer evenings with the old fellas out playing bocce.


Bright, clear light, so much like home but not as fierce.

could be a painting clothes line and buildings olin

hollyhocks olib

green on green

green shutter

Like the Italians, everywhere, every corner, filled with veggies.

tower and vegie garden

And simple, shady, unpretentious spots to put your legs under the table.


If you tucked Ist away last post, I’d add little Olib as well.

olib port

We were heading north, to Rab. In one of our books someone described it as the most beautiful medieval town in the world. A big call but it piqued our interest. That’s the tip of Pag on the right, the island of Rab behind and the Croatian mainland in the background. Sailing along, listening to Eva Cassidy, watching those low isles gradually find form.

the tip of pag

marg paintingsailing into ran

Rab, like so much of this area, has found itself under others’ rule. Greeks, Romans, Hungarian-Croats all had an influence here but its the Venetians, who ruled from 1409 to 1797, that really left their mark. You can see it immediately.

When friends head to Istanbul the one ‘must do’ I always suggest is to get a ferry across to the Asian side or out to the Princes Islands and then, when it’s dark, catch the ferry back. I did this way back in 1985 and have done it every visit since. The panoramic view of all those minarets lit up along the Istanbul skyline, the ferry being dwarfed by the shadow of a tanker on its way to Russia along the Bosphorus, if you’re lucky – a call to prayer – it’s a moment that’s stayed with me forever.

I’m adding Rab to the list.

sailing into Rab

Slowly gliding past, seeing the layers of history in those buildings.

sailing into Rab


Talk about a room with a view. Can’t wait to take you inside.


rab watercolour

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    Hi I’m Margaret Hogan, an Australian based designer, writer and artist.
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