Author: Fiona

The Buckleys | Musicians

Musical talent runs deep in the Buckley family. Mick, Sharon and their four youngest children have recently returned from the USA, where their family band, The Buckleys, played shows in Nashville, wrote songs with Grammy-nominated country music songwriters, and met with record labels. They played at the famous Bluebird Café, on the same stage where Bob Dylan and Taylor Swift have trodden. “For them to get invited to play there, that was cool, man,” says Mick. Sisters Sarah and Molly are out in front on guitar, mandolin, ganjo and vocals, while brother, Lachlan, plays bass and dad, Mick, keeps time on the kit. “We’ve been around instruments our whole life,” says Molly. “We’ve always been writing songs,” ads Sarah. The US trip was a dream come true for the girls, who love country music. “When I was 12 years old, I was going to get to Nashville by the time I was 16,” says Sarah. “So everything in the last 4 years has been leading up to that.” Lachlan prefers ‘70s and ‘80s rock and …

Thomas Rehbach | Educator, Carer, Hitchhiker

Thomas Rehbach has been a preschool educator, an administrator, a respite carer, a teacher, a courier, a soccer coach and referee. He’s lived in the area long enough to see kids he’s taught now becoming parents and teachers themselves. Tom was born in Australia to German parents and grew up in Rosehill. At age 9, Tom and his brother went to live at Dunmore House, a boys’ home in Pendle Hill. “We got into enough trouble that we had a choice to go to one of two boys homes,” Tom says. It’s a time he remembers favourably, being part of a large family unit with children of all ages. “I think that was the best thing that ever happened to us. I don’t hold any animosity towards my mum for making that choice.” After hitchhiking from Sydney to Cairns a few times in the early 1980s, Tom came back to the Northern Rivers and never left. He met his partner, Gail, through Clunes Preschool when they both had sons who were attending. The couple live …

Everybody Needs Good Neighbours

Neighbours. You can’t really choose them, but you can choose your neighbourhood. You can try to surround yourself with like-minded people, with those who share your same values or mowing habits, but in the end it’s still a bit of a lottery. Where we live can affect so many things besides which corner store we frequent, or where our kids go to school.  It can determine our level of community interaction, who our children play with and how many lemons we don’t need to buy. It can even shape our notions of hospitality and how we welcome others into our world. The house our family lived in for 7 years was down the end of a road, in a part of town where none of our friends lived, and hardly anyone dropped by unannounced.  The only surprise visitors we had were our parents. If people were coming over, I had invited them. I rarely worried about keeping the bathroom clean or having an emergency supply of biscuits in case someone wanted a cup of tea. …

Jim Richardson | Teacher, Librarian, Environmentalist, Volunteer

The son of a dairy farmer from McKees Hill, Jim Richardson started his education at a one-teacher school at Clovass. Since those early years, he has been fortunate enough to take advantage of the educational opportunities that came his way. They eventually led him out of rural New South Wales, to the city, and the wide world. Fast forward to the 1970s, and Jim was a scholarship student at university in Armidale. Originally aiming to become a marine biologist, Jim realised he wanted to be involved with education, so decided to become a science teacher instead. During university, Jim had been to the Nimbin Aquarius Festival in 1973, and it made an impression on him that would shape both his professional career and his environmental outlook. “I was right into this concept of needing to educate yourself and to free up education, do whatever courses you can as long as they don’t cost too much money”, says Jim. Contracted to take up a teaching post after graduating, Jim ended up in Bathurst, where he taught …

Nikky Morgan-Smith | Artist

Nikky Morgan-Smith lives in Eureka in a house tucked away on the side of an overgrown gully. It’s the house she grew up in, where her parents still lived, until Nikky and her then six-month old daughter, Morgan, moved back from Melbourne about 9 years ago. “We moved in and when it was apparent that we weren’t going to move back out, they moved out”, Nikky says, smiling.  Her parents now live in another house on the family’s 50-acre property, while Nikky and Morgan share the old house with their menagerie of dogs, cats and birds. Both Nikky’s parents are artists, and as a kid being dragged around to gallery openings, she wasn’t keen to follow in their footsteps. By the end of school, though, Nikky enjoyed art enough to enrol in a Visual Arts degree at age 18. “In a way I didn’t really have a choice because it was the one thing that I knew how to do the best.” Nikky transferred her studies to Melbourne and became involved in art therapy, volunteering …

Girl Vs Internet Logins

In the battle between saving the forests and saving my sanity, there can only be one winner. At last count I have about 25 online accounts of varying kinds. Each has their own web address, client number, username, password, secret question, mother’s shoe size, wizard’s spell to be chanted at midnight under a full moon. In an effort to save trees and, while they’re at it, shift responsibility, companies are constantly pushing us to access everything online. Sounds good in theory, everything at your fingertips. In reality, you’re in password hell. As I see it, you have only two options. You could use the one password for all your accounts, or use a different one each time and write them down somewhere useful, but not so useful that a robber or cyber-hacker can find them. Either way, you’re screwed. Here’s a rundown of the companies I’m in online relationships with: bank other bank insurance company Centrelink Medicare superannuation fund other superannuation fund electricity company digital newspaper subscription motor registry domain name provider email host other email host …

Lauren Campbell | Potter

In a weathered, open-sided shed behind an old house in the middle of Clunes, Lauren Campbell is in her favourite place. A mud-strewn pottery wheel sits at one end, at the other are shelves laden with vessels in various states of undress. Finished mugs, bowls and platters glisten in the afternoon light, brightly coloured glazes dripping sea blues, lilacs and speckled creams over their earthy bodies. “Getting my hands dirty, sitting on the wheel, it’s just a place of calm,” says Lauren. Lauren discovered pottery about 5 years ago after being captivated by some beautiful ceramics while on a work experience placement with furniture designer, Mark Tuckey, in Sydney. “He had a big shop and had this ceramicist’s products in there and I fell in love with them”, she says.  Now in her second year of TAFE, studying the Advanced Diploma in Visual Arts, majoring in Ceramics, Lauren divides her time between classes, throwing clay on her wheel, teaching pottery workshops and taking care of the hidden necessities of being a self-employed businesswoman, under the …

Dave Rawlings Machine, East Coast Tour @ Bangalow A & I Hall

Dave Rawlings sings sweet and country. His hat’s not as high as some but it’s perfectly clean and cream. He plays that 80-year-old guitar like it’s gonna take him away to another planet.  At once caressing it, then tugging and working it round a solo to within an inch of its life. When Gillian Welch sings, her straight, wide mouth hides the smooth and effortless sound that escapes it. There’s no confusing whose voice that is. She smiles frequently, at us, at Dave, enjoying herself and the music they’re making. It’s Dave’s name on the bill, but on stage the two are equals. One wouldn’t be without the other. Gillian jokes that it’s going to get hot and sweaty, which is just as well because that’s how they like it. For sure, the night is still and the old hall is an oven full of bodies. The guitars are pretty high, the jeans straight and not-too-narrow, and the denim double. Americana for the clothes as well as the tunes. Long dresses brush ankles, all checks …

The Axis of Awesome – Melbourne Comedy Festival

So, I got to interview my first comedy act last week, The Axis of Awesome. Luckily, they were awesome, so they’re not liars. And, even more luckily, they are playing soon at a comedy festival near you! Which would be true if you live near Adelaide or Melbourne. Get along to see them if you can, and if you can’t just google them or hit them up on YouTube. You’ll thank me later. Read the funny stuff they had to say over at Aphra Magazine here.

Kylie Bridges | Artist and Collaborator

“We were all set up in Sydney,” says Kylie Bridges, shaking her head in slight disbelief at what she’s about to say. “I really didn’t think he’d walk away from it all, but he did and we’re here and we love it”, she says, referring to her husband, Mark, a self-employed bathroom renovator and musician, and their decision to move to Clunes 13 years ago. “I still actually go ‘wow, we really did it’, because we were in a really nice situation, in a little house, great friends, great street”, Kylie explains. A chance encounter between their son Josh, a toddler at the time, and a stranger’s playful dog on a Byron Bay beach changed their lives. The dog’s owner told them how he’d lived all over the world but had now settled in Clunes. “‘It was God’s country’, he said, and he told us to ‘do yourselves a favour and just go out into the hinterland while you’re up here’”, Kylie recounts. She never did learn his name. Now primarily a self-employed graphic designer, …