Saturday, 22 August 2015

The Darling River Tour (Part 1)

Darling River, Bourke NSW

Why did we do this over the last couple of years?  There has been a group of people involved in the Tour over the years including the past Moderator Rev Dr Brian Brown and Rev Myung Wa Pak, the current Moderator.  The aim is to hear the people of the Murray Darling Basin; to listen to their needs and dreams.  We don't go on the Tour to save or fix but to listen.  The Church "listening" is seen as important by many of the people we meet.

I arrived in Dubbo early on Friday, picking up those flying in or coming by train into Dubbo on Saturday. The first event on the Tour was a Forum at the Dubbo Uniting Church which Rev Dr Brian Brown led. We had Dubbo people plus the tour group all fed by the Dubbo ladies.  There were talks then a Q&A panel with lots of good questions that made us think. 

First Forum at Dubbo

Next morning was load the buses and head off for a half hour drive to Narromine.  There we participated in a good service at the Narromine UCA, had morning tea then "round 'em up, load 'em up" and off we go, heading for Bourke.  We had an hour stop for lunch in Nyngan on the way, then hit the Outback.  Driving along I pointed out different things about the small towns/localities.  Myra had a great story about her dad who used to bring their cattle up from Camden to Girilambone, sometimes walking up from Nyngan, so we stopped to take photos of the old station (see below).

We drove onto Bourke, staying in a caravan park that night and joined in the fun of "Poetry on a Plate", sitting around campfires listening to great poetry, old and new.  Andrew Hull put on a great show - he has helped us with drought work (like "A Good Day Out" in Weilmoringle).  Next morning was a 9am river cruise.  We sadly had a new friend, Maureen, experience a bad fall but medical help was good and quick.  Unfortunately she had to leave us there.  Her great friend Barbara sat with her until the plane arrived to airlift her back to Dubbo.  She's doing well now!

Old Bourke Bridge (foreground) and new bridge (background) 

"Come on - places to go, things to see!" 
Off to the Queensland Border where those on No. 1 bus met the oldest NSW publican still alive - she's in her 90's.  My bus stopped at Engonnia Public School.  One of Julie Greig's projects is here - we had a tour of the school and preschool plus performances from all the children which were very good!

The Lion Dance - the one's on the chairs are the lions and the other's are the deers 
This ends this week's blog.  Next we head to Louth for a night on a cattle station.  The group of people on the tour is forming into a community, moved by stories from the river and from the school we visited.  But we need to listen to and for God's voice, and what he calls us to be and do.  Just having a moment of being touched is good but acting on God's call make changes awesome!  

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