When dreams change

I’m letting go of our plan to travel around the Mediterranean this year.

For now at least. And if I’m honest, it hasn’t been that hard to do.

2016 was meant to be the year but so much has changed since January 2013 when the idea was first hatched – not just in North Africa, in Syria, in Europe, but in our own little world. So I’m off to rewrite my About page.


I’d thought that when the kids finished school and uni that we’d be free to strike out.

But dreams can change.

And sometimes you think you want something so badly but discover that actually, some dreams are not as important as you’d first thought.

Or, as in my case, other dreams have stepped in to take their place.

Having survived the HSC year, Darce has been one of those kids who is utterly unsure of what he wants to do. He still is. But after a bit of a break, he’s jumped on a train. And as one of my oldest friends said to us a few months back  “They need to just jump on that first train, a first best option. If they don’t like where it’s heading, they can get off at the first stop and jump on another train. And again. And another one after that … But at least they’re on a train heading somewhere. They’re not just sitting on the platform watching the trains go past.” 

It was such good advice.


We were down at the river together this morning. With cameras in hand. Chasing a sunrise.

Sunrise Macquarie River flats Bathurst

Meanwhile Maddy has won a scholarship to do a Masters in Fashion and Society at Parsons in New York.

I’ve never seen her want anything more.

Nor work so hard for it.


But amidst the excitement, the reality of it all has hit in the last couple of days.

Two years.

There have been lots of happy tears.

happy tears

And for now, for this year at least, all I want to do is get some windows in the back shed and paint. I don’t know whether it will take me anywhere but man it makes me happy.

macquarie river flats

So this is our little train for now.

Algeria might be off the table.

But New York is looking good.

And last time I checked, dreams are still free.


One train stop at a time.



    An open letter to Rod Smith, Regis Resources

    river painting 2

    Dear Rod,

    It was a pity that you ducked away early from last night’s Council meeting.

    Had you stayed after your presentation, you would have been able to put faces to the names of those who have voiced their various opinions – for and against – about your proposal to buy Bathurst’s recycled water which translates to denying 8-10 million litres of water a day from the Macquarie (Wambool) River.

    Had you stayed, as the full chamber of residents did, listening with interest to a record breaking, vibrant, feisty, public question time and waiting for the Council vote, you would have heard a wide range of concerns, issues and experiences. And yes, you would have felt our passion, our emotion.

    In your submission you caution Council to be wary of emotive opposition, but we, as residents, as ratepayers, tree changers, fisherman, business owners, and proud Bathurstians all, we are the ones who choose to stay rather than blow through, and we have every right to be passionate about this issue.

    This is our home.

    The river is our lifeblood.


    So let me caution you Rod.


    Bathurst is a region with smarts. It’s a region with talents. A region of creatives. Of academics. Of people who know and understand the land. It’s a region with history and heritage and a seductive landscape that creeps into your soul and the Macquarie (Wambool) lies at the centre of it all. So when you visit our home I would ask that you treat it, and us, with respect.

    People have told me during the week that it’s standard practice for mining companies to offer sweeteners to local businesses and organisations. It might be standard practice but that does not make it honourable.

    I assume now, Regis’s energies will be focused on delivering up an Environmental Impact Study to support your DA. An Environmental Impact Study that your company will commission and pay for.

    Well, when that’s ready, we will still be here.

    Ironically your proposal has brought us all together. And we are stronger for it. This campaign has reminded us what an eclectic, brilliant, egalitarian and resilient community Bathurst is. And when new people, and businesses, come to this region we want them to come – as Cr Jess Jennings said last night – as family.

    The foundations are laid. Bathurst is drawing a line in the sand Rod. We’re suggesting it’s time the mining juggernaut in this country learnt where the brakes are. And in the years to come we hope Bathurst will be known as the region that stopped the runaway mining freight train.


    We all learnt something last night.

    Had you stayed you would have learnt it too.

    It’s the Wiradyuri word for respect and go slowly.



    Yindyamarra Rod.

    Have a good day.




    To anyone interested, please join the Don’t Mine The Macquarie Facebook group.


      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 …

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