Warialda – Big lives in small towns. Week four

Warialda, once deemed the civic hub of the northern Liverpool Plains and mooted to be on the rail line through to Inverell, is today a sleepy town en-route from Moree to Inverell. Land was snatched up in the 1830s when the squatters pushed north from the Hunter and Sydney into Kamilaroi country. The gloss of the large sheep stations that once carried the local towns has dulled and more recently Warialda has suffered the same fate as many other smaller councils, when it amalgamated with Bingara council. Both Bingara and Warialda share a similar history and some fantastic old heritage buildings, but Warialda feels just that little bit further away from everything.

Keith Moore - Warialda

So what is it you’re doing?

It’s a GPS sound walk app. Audio stories that you can experience on location. With your phones.

With your phones. Right. Well the kids love the phones.  

In the back room of the local servo, I sit with Keith Moore. Keith is ninety two, five foot nothing and he has a gentle face and soft spoken voice. He’s still pretty nimble on his feet despite his knee replacements and the death of his dearly beloved. In the office, workers mill around and his brother Athol is finishing up for the day. Brothers with only a few years apart. Keith and Athol have worked here their whole lives. It’s a business their father started, was the holden car dealers for fifty years and while they don’t sell Holden anymore, the business is still going strong. Keith might not understand these GPS sound walks things, but he does appreciate the notion of story and he likes to talk. He tells me about his dad who was born in the late 1800 from convict stock. Mr Moore, as Keith refers to him. He started the town’s electricity supply, then the freezing works, the rabbit processing plant, then Moore’s cordial, the swimming pool (I think) and then, to cap it off, he helped build the local bowls club. Keith’s father’s name is writ large in this town. Down the back of the business, Keith shows me the place, where at 4am in the morning, he would come in from the house ‘just over there’, and start the generators for town’s electricity supply.

A big life in a small town. Precious.

 

 

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