Category Archives: BELLINGEN SHOW


 Memory itself is an internal rumour. George Santayana, The Life of Reason.




Sometimes, THEY say that Country Living is  too quiet, too slow. Sometimes, says I, Country Living is Hectic. Mind you, I have a low Hecticity Threshold. Only a week ago, I was watching Woodchopping at the Show. Sunny and warm. A week has passed and I shall use images, as I do, and a quote from Douglas Adams to explain myself.

“Reg, as he insisted on being called, had a memory that he himself had once compared to the Queen Alexandra Birdwing Butterfly in that it was colourful, flitted prettily hither and thither, and was now, alas, almost completely extinct.” – Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency



The night of the Show saw Peter Inglis call in for a visit, guitar and suitcase in hand. Pete has a long and exalted musical history – inc early Captain Matchbox days and later with Izzy Foreal in Heartbeat. He was heading for Sundays@widerive4r in Ulmarra without knowing that we had moved South. Andrew Hegedus was playing there today with Tony Rendell in the DROUGHTBREAKERS so if you are in Ulmarra on a Sunday, do call in. Plans are afoot for further DROUGHTBREAKERS Gigs down this way.

Last Weekend, however, was musically a non-event on the Foreal  Enterprises Front and offhand we couldn’t think of a venue to grab on short notice so Izzy and Pete settled in for a good vegie curry from the Bello Ateliers down at Fullers Fruit and Vegie and a Musos’ Rave that went into the early hours before Pete and the Gold Merc headed South to Sydney.


Throw the Raleigh Tip into that Mix and Country Life becomes even more interesting. For some reason, the Council doesn’t collect our garbage. No wheelie bins – nothing. That means Tip Runs for us. Its only 1-2 kms from here and I rather enjoy the Tip. I was once a licensed 2nd hand dealer in Urunga and did a lot of tip scavenging.  Last Sunday we were out there looking for treats for the Mini Me who turned 6 last week and was coming for a visit this weekend. We resisted the lure of the 2 caravans for sale. Still looking for the spare bedroom but solid advice has suggested we ask R.R. up on the Highway near the former Brigalow so we left the Vans alone for a day. There’s some rather fine old furniture out at the Tip at the moment. Worth a look. Sunday,then, we tossed our minimal garbage out and headed home.




Monday, I decided to spend a day at home alone. I lived alone for a long time and now and then I like a full Shabbos day.  Shabbos of my own designing. The kookaburras are plentiful here at the Workers’ Cottage and a variety of little birds emerge as they become more accustomed to me, from the trees along the fence line.

At this point and in relation to the Trip to Port Macquarie which came about towards the end of the week, I insert this link which is an NLA Newspaper Article from 1914 describing a trip from BELLINGEN to Port Macquarie.

The Sydney Morning Herald… Saturday 10 January 1914, page


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Week before last we went to Bowraville – rejuvenated as it is and scored these wee dolls for $2.50 each from the PO Store. I was intending to give them to the little girls but have decided to keep them for myself.

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In the same easily distracted manner, I am popping in some mention of the coming weekend as well. Saturday 29th May sees Action at The FEDERAL and at the BELLO BOWLO.

The Federal is featuring THE NINTH CHAPTER. Izzy recommends this band after hosting them at the FLAME TREE FESTIVAL in Grafton a few weeks back.

Over at the Bowlo, 3 bands are on. Muddy Turds, The Clap and a local band whose name is escaping me at the moment. Pete Bufo can fill you in on that one.

Meanwhile, the bell from Ulmarra hangs at the front door and I return to memories of the Hectic Country Week. At one stage a yellow robin was caught inside. It escaped. Three dogs make this their second home and joining them is a wee black kitten. There are, of course, also the Chooks.

Many of my days involve a trip to Bello to visit with Kati B and the Baby. We do the shops and we walk and talk and when I’m lucky, Kati B or IMM do some cooking. Both of them are fine cooks.

Izzy tells me he is Buddhist. He is certainly vegetarian. He is, at this time, digging out photos from his Vault and I have the sensation of Western Suburbs Phobia coming back upon me after all of this time.





I am in the middle of a flurry of birthdays. The Young Lady from the deli at IGA turned 30 as did T.G. from Brierfield, fresh back from the U.K. Former Mayor Gordon Braithwaite turned 80. Etc. Etc. I don’t engage at any depth with Occasions. I see the world from one step back in an electronic witness mode and I Tire.

Nonetheless, I enjoy watching the dynamics of the Communities in Bellingen and Environs.


Later in the week, family matters took me South to Port Macquarie. En route, we stopped in at Kempsey Museum to take a brief look at the Sanders History. Its only an hour or so South of here so I shall be able to return and do some deeper looking.


Frederickton is another family location for me inasmuch as there are graves of ancestors in the cemetery there that go way back to the mid 1800s. My ‘Assisted’ Emigrants.



Monday allowed me to settle in a little further to what is my New Normal. New Normals take some time to form and I have had rather more than what I like to have over the last few years.  Sometimes, the place on the beach in the Far NorWest of Australia where Grey Nomaders go to escape – well sometimes it appeals to me.

Most of the time, the Coming Home to the Valley is precisely the thing I have long desired. And so I settled in a little further. Me and Charlie and Bali and Scoob. Me and the Birds and the ornaments and doodads of my world.



Staying home nowadays also means internet access and that means a wider world than ever was available to me before. Newly online is the BELLOBARDS set up by Pip Wilson of the Almanac  for the Bards who meet once a month – the last Friday.

Bello Bards

We’re poets and lovers of poetry who, since Bello Bards was founded by Marti Guy in March, 2007, have met in Bellingen on the last Friday of every month at 6:30pm, at varying venues. We are, perhaps it might be said, a ‘moveable feast’ as well as a travelling band of troubadours and their audience. We always dine together and anyone who wants to get up and have a go reading their own or someone else’s poetry, is as welcome as those who just like to listen. Welcome to our online home.


We had the doings of grandparents to finish as well The 6th birthday gifts for the anticipated visit from the Mob in the Mountains. Partway through that the Black Kitten turned up and took to Lurking. I am not so good with cats due to my fondness for bird life. I rather think the kookaburra is slightly larger than the Black Kitten.




Heading Home, we stopped again at FREDO’S PIES.

Its a legendary place for good reason. Soon, the Highway will deviate around it. The pies are cooked fresh daily. There seem to be 100s of varieties. The people are friendly and efficient and expert. They even sell Gramma Pies with real cream and that’s rare.


Port Macquarie is a town I once liked visiting. I don’t think I shall feel that way anymore.  It has plenty of beaches and was settled way back in 1821 by Whites.  That leaves it with some colonial buildings standing. My Great Grandmother, Granny Bell, was a midwife a little further south at Laurieton and has on her headstone “ A LEGEND IN HER OWN LIFETIME “.

Years back, Fantasy Glades was there. I liked Fantasy Glades. I have been seriously ill in hospital there. Have had a tentative romance and faced several serious health issues in loved ones. I am not sure that I can feel warmly towards Port any more.

The visit means a great deal to me.


Saturday, I ventured into the 80th Birthday Celebrations of Councillor Gordon Braithwaite at North Beach Bowlo. 100 or so guests and true country community cooking. Great Salads.



Wrapped the week up with the BUTTERFLY HOUSE and MAZE on the way to Coffs Harbour.

29 degrees and Butterflies settling softly. They were two places I have long wanted to go. The Maze. The Butterflies.





Its actually Labyrinths which interest me. That and the Labyrinthine walk. I do not , however, know of a labyrinth around here so a Maze substitutes. The containment of the Labyrinth appeals to me. That and the journey to the Centre to locate the Small Thing and to return to the outside with it and changed. The Coffs Harbour Maze might lack a little of the mystery and allure of the Labyrinthine Experience I envisage but I didn’t mind at all. I have a Libran Imagination.









Last year’s Show was flooded out and I , myself, have walked many a gumbooted show. This one was blue-skied and dry. The grounds were Autumnal and all was well. The entry fees were sensationally reasonable. $6 for me on a pension. The Bello Show was more exciting for me this year than the big Easter Shows of my Sydney Past. Quite the right size for a new baby, so it was – and on grounds I have walked with my own children.

The Reptile Man was there with his snakes. I only caught a little but I did hear him advise that noone take a black snake lightly. It had the echoes of La Perouse Days, on this Show of Whispering Memories. Deep sighs of apprehension and amazement as he handled the snakes and a biblical faith in what he was saying.

The commonly held view that things look smaller when one goes back as an adult didn’t apply for me yesterday. The Rides looked Bigger, the Crowds were cheerier and the Food more wonderful than I recall. I think getting over the Hump of turning 60 has restored me to childlike wonder.

The Pavilions were filled with amazing displays. Amazed me anyways. Jakfruit of enormous size and a pumpkin as big as  ……………

All the ingredients of Australian Country Life in one small town. I feel a good deal reassured that all is fundamentally well after the Day at the Show.  3 generations of us went together. My daughter and granddaughter are following family steps which I have been able to trace to 1915 – likely it goes back even further.