Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Visit to Gunnedah

My sharing of images and commentary on my time in Australia during July and August continues with this latest installment – one which highlights a visit with my parents to our hometown of Gunnedah. (To start at the beginning of this series, click here.)

My parents have lived in Guruk (a.k.a. Port Macquarie) since 2002, and the drive from this town on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales inland to the rural town of Gunnedah takes about four-and-a-half hours.

In traveling across the mountains from the coast to the New England Tablelands, the towns and villages one passes through are Wauchope, Walcha, Bendemeer, and Moonbi, and the city of Tamworth.

Above: In Tamworth I caught up with my friend Julie, with whom I went to primary (elementary) and high school in Gunnedah. Julie now lives and works in Tamworth and it was great to catch up with her as we hadn't seen in other in over 20 years!

. . . In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I saw Julie was in Gunnedah in January of 1994, just before I relocated to the U.S. That's when the picture above was taken. In this photo Julie and I are pictured with three of our school friends. From left: Julie, Michelle, me, David, and Joanne.

Above: With my mum, Margaret, and my Aunt Ruth (mum's younger sister) – Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Above: Mum as a child holding an even younger Ruth. This photograph was taken in Gunnedah sometime in the early 1940s.

Above: Ruth graduating from the Royal Women's Hospital in Paddington, Sydney, in 1968. Pictured with her are her parents (my maternal grandparents) Valentine (1890-1971) and Olive Sparkes (1906-1997).

Above: Mum with her cousins Ron, Marg, Bettie, and Joanne – August 16, 2017.

Right: My Uncle Michael (mum's brother) with his cousin Ron (left).

Gunnedah and its surrounding area were originally inhabited by indigenous Australians who spoke the Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) language. The area now occupied by the town was settled by Europeans in 1833. Through my maternal grandmother’s family, the Millerds, my family can trace its connection to Gunnedah back to the town’s earliest days. For more about the town’s history and my family’s connection to it, see the previous Wild Reed posts, My “Bone Country” and Journey to Gunnedah.

Above: My dad, Gordon, with his good friend (and our family's former next-door-neighbor) John Sills – Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

Above: Dad and John in the 1950s.

Above: Another photo from the archives! That's Dad third from left and John at far left. In scanning and saving this photo onto his computer, dad named it "The Untouchables."! I guess they were quite the team!

Above: Good friends (and former Gunnedah next-door-neighbors) John and Heather Sills.

Left: My childhood friend Jillian and her husband David. Jillian is John and Heather's youngest daughter.

Above: With Jillian – August 16, 2017.

Left: With family friends Gwen (right) and her daughter Denise.

Right: Wendy (another daughter of Gwen's) and her husband Gary.

Above and below: Scenes of Conadilly Street, Gunnedah's main street – Thursday, August 17, 2017.

Above and below: Mum and Dad, catching up with many of their Gunnedah friends – August 17, 2017.

Above: Mum and Dad with friends and former neighbors Jan and Stan Wallace.

Above: With Sister Gabrielle (left) and Sister Christine, two of my former high school teachers. Both women are Sisters of Mercy, which was the order that founded my high school, St. Mary's College.

Above: On the evening of August 17, I met up with a number of my old high school friends at the Gunnedah Golf Club. Back row from left: Louise, Paul, and Joanne. Front row: me, Mick, and David.

NEXT: Last Days in Australia

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Australian Sojourn, May 2016: Part 9 – Gunnedah
Australian Sojourn, March 2015: Part 12 – Gunnedah
A Visit to Gunnedah (2014)
Journey to Gunnedah (2011)
This Corner of the Earth (2010)
An Afternoon at the Gunnedah Convent of Mercy (2010)
My "Bone Country" (2009)
The White Rooster
Remembering Nanna Smith
One of These Boys is Not Like the Others
Gunnedah (Part 1)
Gunnedah (Part 2)
Gunnedah (Part 3)
Gunnedah (Part 4)

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