Friday, 2 June 2017

AAA Tour - Day 11 - Pondering Problems

Intermediate Egret
We have fallen into the relaxed style on the road we have always wanted to find. Unfortunately, things like washing clothes still have to happen and even more unfortunately, it’s my job, so half hour after sunrise, with the frost still crackling under my feet, I was off to the laundry. Luckily I was early, as there was only one machine available!

Chores out of the way and Sue finally awake, we returned to town looking to double our experience yesterday at Miss Barrett’s CafĂ© but it was not to be, as it was closed in order for staff to attend a funeral. This meant we took an extended drive around Wilcannia and I must admit, it made the conflict I was feeling yesterday even more pronounced.

There are so many problems to be overcome here.

In the main street, former businesses lie broken and deserted, their windows long ago smashed despite the iron bars that were intended as protection. Corrugated iron has replaced many of them but where visual passage is possible, the walls and roofs are often caving in, with piles of bricks where customers once would have been. Yet over the road, sandstone buildings built by white fellas 140 years ago are still in pristine condition and occupied by the council, Australia Post, the police, the courts.

Driving around town, thoroughly decent country houses stand beside hovels. Everywhere, the contradiction.

Royal Spoonbill
It got me wondering, how do young people aspire to break the cycle when there is so much decay still standing. Education perhaps? The local paper skewered that idea: last week only 72% of primary aged children enrolled at the central school turned up but it was streets ahead of the 48% of secondary students. How do you run education programs with attendance like that.

I’m not pointing the finger at the aboriginal community or Wilcannia or the residual white community. I don’t know what the answer is. It’s clear, people are trying but negative media isn’t going to help. I read today that the BBC has apologised for the biased presentation it aired: apologised and placed the production company who supplied it under scrutiny for several other projects it was set to supply.

However, it’s not going to be fixed by ignoring the elephant in the room either.

I’ll be leaving Wilcannia tomorrow and I’ll be a little better informed but still with no idea what
might repair the damage. There is hope. There is resilience. It’s just that it is up against it.

Click to view today's photos
In the afternoon we went on another driving tour around the property and more lovely birdies.

Campfire circle again this evening with a meal of brazed steak and vegetables made by our host Gordon and shared among the punters. Lots of sharing about places and roads travelled. We left when it got around to bragging.

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