REAL AUSTRALIA

Voice of Real Australia: 2020 wasn't all bad and we've got proof

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Clockwise from top left: Mudgee's Ken Brown; Enid Gorley married Eddie Addison; Moree Champion journalist Sophie Harris; and some of the dedicated committee members of the Upper Lansdowne Hall.

Clockwise from top left: Mudgee's Ken Brown; Enid Gorley married Eddie Addison; Moree Champion journalist Sophie Harris; and some of the dedicated committee members of the Upper Lansdowne Hall.

Ask any journalist why we love what we do and the answer will be a variation on the same theme; it's all about the people we are so privileged to meet. And we're not talking about the so called important people in suits.

Every day, our regional journalists are talking to people whose stories would otherwise never be heard.

Helen and Alastair Breingan, Phil and Sue Sutton, Robyn and Roger Oliver, Ian Turier and Sue Brook and Rita Preece and Chris Galloway are some of the dedicated committee members of the Upper Lansdowne Hall. Photo: Scott Calvin.

Helen and Alastair Breingan, Phil and Sue Sutton, Robyn and Roger Oliver, Ian Turier and Sue Brook and Rita Preece and Chris Galloway are some of the dedicated committee members of the Upper Lansdowne Hall. Photo: Scott Calvin.

When we learn of the role a town hall played as a refuge and meeting place during fires on the NSW Mid-North Coast, the story becomes an ode to these lovely old buildings, the heart and soul of our country towns.

As journalists, we always have those special stories that really touched or inspired us, so we asked our reporters to nominate their favourite stories from 2020, and to give us a little explainer as to why the story moved them.

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting some of these special stories from right around the country.

When Mudgee's Ken Brown realised at the checkout he'd left his card at home, his response was, "Sufferin' cats!". But the woman behind him in the queue took care of his $60 bill - one example of an outpouring of neighbourly care we reported on in regional Australia in 2020.

When Mudgee's Ken Brown realised at the checkout he'd left his card at home, his response was, "Sufferin' cats!". But the woman behind him in the queue took care of his $60 bill - one example of an outpouring of neighbourly care we reported on in regional Australia in 2020.

Ben Palmer's story about a simple act of kindness experienced by an elderly gentlemen in Mudgee, in NSW's Central West, is a typical tale from the pandemic.

Across our regional towns, country people were paying each others bills at the checkout, buying coffees for people waiting in Centrelink lines, dropping off meals and care packages to health workers and isolated neighbours.

Ben says, "I sat down with Ken one afternoon in April and we talked about his interaction with a good Samaritan. This was among the most read stories all year for the Mudgee Guardian, which goes to show that a bit of good news can go a long way."

 In February this year, and at the age of 91, Enid Gorley married 86-year-old Eddie Addison at Macksville in the Nambucca Valley of NSW. Photo supplied

In February this year, and at the age of 91, Enid Gorley married 86-year-old Eddie Addison at Macksville in the Nambucca Valley of NSW. Photo supplied

Mel Dee from the Macleay Argus came across a rare and beautiful love story when she met Macksville's newly-weds Enid (91) and Eddie (86). Mel tells us, "I could have chinwagged with them all day. They both have a wicked sense of humour, and I left with a sore belly from all the laughter."

I'll leave you for now with one of those rare times when the journalist becomes the story.

When Sophie Harris from the Moree Champion was on a temporary stand down after the full first force of COVID hit, she went out into "Moree's beautiful fresh air" and picked oranges.

Moree Champion journalist Sophie Harris swapped her notepad for an orange picking bag and wrote candidly about her aching muscles, and her joy at finally being able to fill two and half crates per day.

Moree Champion journalist Sophie Harris swapped her notepad for an orange picking bag and wrote candidly about her aching muscles, and her joy at finally being able to fill two and half crates per day.

Her warts and all account of her experience adds a human dimension to our entire network's coverage of farm labour shortages during the year.

Thank you for continuing to support us to bring you stories like these, and keep your eyes open for more in this series in our national news section.

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