Friday, 24 June 2016

Moderators visit to The Lower Darling

Wentworth at the Murray Darling Junction

The Moderator, Rev Myung Hwa Park has a great passion for the well being of the people living along the river systems of NSW and the health of the rivers. The purpose of this visit was to identify what the current situation is, what is causing the problems, how they may be rectified and what we as a Church may be able to do to assist. This information was forth coming from individuals and community consultations as we traveled through the river system. The group was also made up of  Lou Smalbil Cobar Nyngan Patrol ( who wrote this report and took Photos *)  Lisa Samson Media and Fundraising Manager  Paul Creek MDB tours.

Tuesday 7th – departed Coleambally travelling to Wentworth, to speak to a local  landowner in regards to the health of the Darling River and the current issues on the land. We continued onto Pooncarie, where we met up with Pastor David Shrimpton (Broken Hill Flying Patrol), and  met with locals over dinner.
 Wednesday 8th – departed Pooncarie travelled to “Bono station” for consultation with land owner, continued onto Menindee and held a meeting with local water users and Aboriginal Elders. We continued on to “Bindara station” to speak to local landowner and spend the night


Above Photos:The Moderator Rev Myung Hwa Park  walking and talking to David Shripmton plus the Meeting at Menindee Uniting Church                                     

Some feed back spoken too on the visit 

Landowners are having to cart water in to service their needs and this comes as a further cost, over and above the cost of holding a water allocation, which at the moment does not have any water to provide.                                                  Landowners are also facing the need to sink bores to provide them with much needed water and this can be very costly and risky.

Landowners/house owners are very conscious of the need to wet the soil around their homes to ensure the ground does not become that dry that the house footings no longer can perform their task.
1.    The Aboriginal “Barkindji” people (people of the river) say the Darling River is dying and their culture is suffering. The Barkindji people have a strong spiritual connection to the “Barka” or Darling River and the surrounding land, it links them to their families, their story and their culture. 

Photos : Darling River in the Menindee to Pooncarie area.

What can we as a Church do?

I believe as a Church we cannot take sides in this debate, however we can offer our support and pray for those who are suffering through this difficult time. We can do our best to make people of position (politicians, media and local government) aware of the plight of those people who are doing it tough and may possibly lose their livelihood or their culture.

Louis Smalbil
Assistant Chairperson                 
Macquarie Darling Presbytery

The Moderator points to the Junction of the Murray Darling River

* The Blog this week comes from a report written by  Louis Smalbil and thanks for  his great Photos ,

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Looking Good

Happy as cows in grass! 
I left early; it was dark and 'roos were hopping in the the flood water that was bringing life to the Pilliga as the sun came up.   The daylight showed the extent of the last couple of heavy rain events. There was a drover camped along the road close to Coonamble; the green pick was transforming the landscape and hopefully changing the story for the farmers in the region. My big question was "What about Coonamble, Quambone, Walgett and The 'Ridge?"
The lake with storm clouds still hanging round 

Quambone / Coonamble Road  - YES! Look at that water! Oops, I can't swim.

"Will I get through?" I asked myself "Or should I go through the low side?" The water was only shallow - you could see the hard base of the road so I went forward.  I did have a job getting through though, not just tack shots as much fun as it was!  A photo opportunity I missed was a tank that was part of the lake-like picture. ("Tank" is a name used for a dam because of the high walls.) Unfortunately I had no place to park up there. As I arrived at the above crossing, 3 road trains came through. I tried to get my camera out to take a photo of the last truck but missed out!  The front water on the photo is what he pushed up.  I heard the truck driver comment to his mates on the CB radio that I looked a bit worried.  I came back "No, just taking photos.  Going now." A few moments later he called in "You get through, mate?" I replied "Yes thanks".

I got to the hall at Quambone where 25 people had turned up for 2 days of "Mental Health First Aid".  This course is like normal first aid, only dealing with the different mental illnesses and how you can help.  I attended as a Chaplain in case any of the subjects touched raw spots emotionally for people, or brought up unwanted memories.  I've attended similar courses over the last few years.  It was a good mix of people from Quambone, from Coonamble High School and from other Services.  The course was held at Quambone for a change as most events are usually held in Coonamble with its better halls, etc.  I stayed in town so drove the same stretch of road 4 times.
This photo is the group of people who attended the course.  I have built up a good relationship with these 2 communities over the last 2 years, but unfortunately most of the  projects and training will end on June 30th.  This is the end of drought help for farmers from the Federal Government. You may ask "has the drought ended?"  Who can say.  In some areas, yes.  But for others it will take months until the next crop is up, or the stock are back and fat, so their income is still a long way off.  But it rained!  Thank you, God, for the promise of new life.  I know I keep saying that there are still some areas suffering, but sadly there is!  Life on the land, unfortunately, is a bit like that - boom or bust, same as our water ways.         


From next Blog taken Lou Smalbil  the Lower Darling River as I said boom and bust more water on the road to Quambone than in the river ?



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