village people

The first time I drove out to Taylors Arm I wasn’t sure I would arrive at my destination. The trip resembled those dreams where you turn a corner and everything changes and moves. Little did I know it was the start of a remarkable journey.

When you settle someplace new, to be at home you need the lay of the land and to get up to speed quick.

Pronunciation is important. Amongst many tongue testing place names in the Nambucca Valley such as Missabotti, Buckra Bendinni, Yarrahapinni, Barraganyatti, Willawarrin, Collombatti, Allgomera, Yarranbella which you sound out, are a few tricky ones you need to utter like a local:

  • Eungai = yew-en-guy
  • Kosekai = coz-ek-eye
  • Utungun = yew-tun-gun
  • Congarinni = con-gar-ree-nee

You also need to know the people… & their kin.

Our LHS neighbour’s sister lives in the first house in the village after the bridge. Their dad “the Mayor” lives on the outskirts and their brother lives a bit further out on the drolly monikered Butts Creek Road. Across the road from the LHS neighbour, their cousin owns the shack, the shop & the house with the old bakery down the back.

Our RHS neighbours’ granddaughter lives across the road & up a bit in Old Dave’s house, and sometimes at another property on Butts Creek Road.

The daughter of the residents of the house next to the pub resides further up over the rise as you go through town. You can pick out her house by the assembly of cats & mini-dogs roaming the front yard and road.

That’s just in the village. Throughout the Valley are the ubiquitous local names, the G.O.’s among them, on bridges, road signs, buildings, etc: Laverty, Ward, Welsh, Wall, Ussher, Speers…

To begin you get to know the locals by their first name or whatever they go by… Nobby it turns out is Robert, and early on the G.O. always referred to our across the road neighbour in the shack as Bert. It wasn’t until “Bert” got together with his now missus I found his name is actually Brett. It takes a while but you eventually work out who’s who and they’re always related to someone or a multitude.

What I’ve come to love about Taylors Arm besides the picturesque country, the peace & quiet and the locals, is everyone is sanctioned to be themselves, and equal no matter wealth or status. Whatever, whoever you were, are or do is a matter of local intelligence but disregarded. We all stop for a yarn, go to the same pub and the same church.

When I saw the recently arrived Mr Scarecrow & his more recent eye-catching missus, it reminded me of the challenges in being a newcomer. I wish them all the best and hope they’re as happy at TA as we are.

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“You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.” ~Casare Pavese


26 thoughts on “village people

  1. Looks wonderful. I can almost see why you get up at 3.30 am to make the trip.

    Your post sounds exactly like living in my village in Spain. Local pronunciation, knowing who is who and related to who. Describing people by their family and describing local geography as up there, down a bit, and out the back (or similar).

    Australia and Andalucía – pretty similar really 😉

    Love the river shot (love all of them actually).

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    1. Thank you. I’ve adopted TA as my own 🙂 but I’ll never qualify as a true local. The G.O. by birth no matter how many times he leaves & returns is a local but I’m sure even after 7+ years I get the odd look from people who don’t know us so well of “oh you’re back/still here…” but the welcomes from our friends make me feel qualified enough.

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      1. My goodness, so it’s a bit like going to a foreign place? Like me here (which, apart from my skin colour barring my admission to local status) – I’ll just never qualify?

        What will happen when you eventually move?

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        1. 🙂 I think you can become local when you live somewhere for a while, get to know people & get involved but to be Local (capital L) you need to be born there & have those intrinsic connections. I’ll always be a Scone Local even though I’ve moved away (& don’t want to return to live) because I have 5 generations of roots there. Nothing’s hard & fast, there’s degrees & always exceptions to the rules, I’m sure. When we move I’ll do my thing just like now.

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        2. I understand. It’s been a theme for me lately. Sometimes having 2 homes/places is hard work. I like being at one or the other but not between. Then there’s all those potential places. I’m hopeless – I go away for a weekend, shopping in new area etc & think “I could live here” but an enforced 2.6 km move last year unravelled me.

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  2. It sounds like a wonderful place. I grew up in a country town, and one of the things I noticed is that it really depends on the size of the place. The smaller the place the more likely you are to be welcomed into it and accepted. They can be fantastic places.

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    1. Thank you – you explained it perfectly. I’ve lived in small towns, and larger, and it’s no accident there’s a phrase “small town mentality”. It’s very much an economy of scale, and no place is perfect. A lot of how you get on is up to you. Even at TA I have ongoing lessons in small community how to 🙂

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      1. I look forward to hearing more. Are you living there now, or just visiting? Sorry to ask, I feel I have only just met you and I’m not quite up with all the happenings. 🙂

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        1. S’ok. We live in Sydney but have the house at TA we’d like to live in some day, sooner rather than later preferably but Sydney has a better employment environment of course (it would be hard to have worse employment prospects than in the Nambucca Valley). We escape to TA as much as we can given the 500 or so kms trip & the G.O.’s 6 day usual work week 🙂

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        2. That makes sense. Thanks for explaining it me. Sounds like a great place to get away too. I go to my mothers, which is also a small town, but in north west Victoria. Not quite so far away, but certainly far enough that you can’t go there for the day. Thanks for explaining. 🙂

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    1. Thank you. It’s great the way quotes find me. I had it stashed somewhere… and it materialised from somwhere else after I wrote this post. We all need a place, village or no, for our hat to call home 😉

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  3. I love reading your blog – you write so well and your subjects are always very interesting – I love your photos too. I nearly made it to Sydney this week as the company I work for wanted me to go for a month or so, but my partner is not so well and I stayed to look after her. Maybe next time…

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    1. Thank you. It’s nice to hear good things about posts that are essentially for my own sanity. I’m enjoying blogging more & more and getting comfortable with the voice that comes through the keypad, and the photos owe more to subject than technique or equipment! Well, if/when there’s a next time for Sydney let me know – any excuse for drinks/dinner/sight seeing 🙂

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    1. Thank you – an interesting comment. I grew up in country towns, never a village as small as TA, and never the city. I couldn’t wait to move away from the country, and for now mostly live in inner city Sydney – a “city of villages” but with over 160,000 inhabitants. Roots, garden & nature are important.

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