Our town

Did you guys ever watch Northern Exposure? It was one of my favourite TV shows of ALL time and this final scene breaks my heart a gazillion times over as this song was played at my beautiful Uncle’s funeral. I loved the characters of the show – the simple storylines, the quirks and the town, the community. While it was just a simple small town, filled with people going about their simple lives, it was real. It stood for something you know?

This little town where I call home now is real. It’s filled with wonderful people, all living their interesting lives  and all pulled together by this common thread of place. Our town. Our homes. For some it’s been that way their whole lives. Others, like me, only a few years. But for all of us, I know that our hearts are captured by this place. It’s beauty. It’s good people. It’s rich farmland. Our pub. Our butcher. Our General Store. Our School. And our darling old village School of Arts Hall.

I was snapped up to join the committee early on – new blood and all that – but it’s been one of the best things I’ve done. I have had a chance to meet so many different kinds of people – from the old ducks at Bridge Day to the weekenders at the fancy ball to just about everyone in between at the various concerts and events that are held there each month. We have monthly movie nights, morning teas, trivia nights, bridge days, balls, dinner dances, Christmas parties, weddings and funerals. The old hall dates back to 1896 and has always been used for socialising and fund-raising events. You can see some of the old metal dance name plates that they used back in the day when Saturday nights were a chance to come and have a dance, catch up, have a drink.

Last weekend we held one of our annual concerts. While we sometimes are lucky enough to get some members of the Sydney Symphony here, this one was a piano show – two blokes and a drummer who travel the small country halls playing for a few hours for $20 a ticket. We all got to sit at tables, share a plate, have a drink and a sing a long and by the end of it, all get up and have a dance. People aged 2 to 92, having a great old-fashioned simple fun. It does your soul good to go to something like this, all of us had a ball.

Hall 1393915_10151674523091711_593517391_n 1377241_10151674524051711_1383714115_n 1375008_10151674523801711_1858476468_n 1374240_10151674523981711_1265435239_n 1374110_10151674522251711_1242189704_n

You can watch the story of the Duelin’ Piano show on Landline here. It’s well worth a look – these boys are bloody fabulous – bringing back the old time Saturday night show to small country towns around Australia. It was a joy and privilege to be a part of their show on Saturday night.

I’ve been thinking about all those small towns out there getting hit from these terrible bushfires that have hit us hard and early this season. The people who volunteer and put their lives on the line to save properties, stock, wildlife and bush. They are real, and they are in all our thoughts at the moment.

Do you have any special memories of Northern?
Been lucky enough to go to a small country hall for a dance?


  1. Davina Park says

    I was explaining to an Eastern Suburbs city friend the other day about going to ‘bush dances’ with mum and dad when I was growing up. Everyone bought a plate, the beer and cast wine flowed (no RBTs in those days), the band played and everyone from 2 to 92 (as you said!) joined in the dancing – stripping the willow and changing partners during the progressive dance. We left late and my sister and I would stare up at the sky through the back window of the car and hope to see a shooting star, or maybe a satellite before falling asleep. We would wake up the next morning, tucked up in bed, still in our party clothes. I love that I had that experience growing up! I’m a more than a little envious that you are getting to experience it now. Enjoy!

    (and as a fellow Northern Exposure fan, I have too many favourite memories to pick just one!!)

  2. What a beautiful town and community! It doesn’t matter where you live, it’s about the people who you live there with, isn’t it?

    I grew up in a small town and hated it – felt it very small minded. When I go home to my parents we do local things – pick Home grown veggies, collect duck eggs, go to farmers makers.. And I like thst staff. Mum and dad went to some council events yesterday – a seed swap, a South African choir and roasted a leg of lamb in the community pizza oven! How fun! And they’ve met some great friends. Dad has met a guy through his work who has made him this eccentric delivery tricycle and dad is going to collect food for the underprivileged in it! And at Christmas we will volunteer at a community Christmas event. I love all that stuff, it’s nice to do it when I go home. Having said that, I live in inner city Melbourne and my little shopping strip is great – cafes, boutiques, grocers, deli and butcher, they all have a chat.

  3. Emma Steendam says

    Oh those CHAIRS! Exackery the same as my small hometowns hall (which was also the kinder that me and my siblings, and now my nieces attend). As soon as I saw the chairs I was there – stacking them up, crawling under them. Oh man.

  4. About 11 years ago my family of then 3, now 5 moved to a tiny village. Our hall is regularly booked for everything from play group to Zumba and boot scooting. More importantly, fundraising for local families who may come across troubled times. Next night has been booked for Bingo in January! I can’t wait…

  5. Well seeing as you asked, last Saturday night I went to the Candelo Village Arts Ball! The theme was seaside romantic so hubby and I went as the Professor and Maryanne from Gilligans island ! (Maryanne had the hots for the prof don’t you think)
    Anyway it was a great night except we cant dance properly and the music was for old fashioned dancing. We had a go but there is only so much swaying side to side that one can do while pretending to dance properly….I loved watching the proper dancers, love a man who can lead in the samba or rhumba!

  6. After that review I’ll visit my local Civic and hire Northern Exposure! I love those sort of shows. And, as for small towns, my wish is to retire to a town , away from the hype of Sydney, and join a community that I can be involved in. Kinda like your one.

  7. Kate McTigue Browne says

    Iris DeMent! I’ll never forget that song or that final episode. That name Iris DeMent has been etched in my memory ever since – love that song. Did you know she’s actually touring here later this year?? My fave character was Ed Chigliak. I think because he was so sweet and naive, with an awesome name! But then there was Marilyn who was just beautiful, and funny old Holling and his young wife Shelly. Oh and hot Joel the doctor…… and Chris the DJ, who went on to bigger and better things with Carrie Bradshaw….. memories….

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Kate! Ed was my favourite too…I had such a crush on him. I adored ALL those characters…Marilyn! Glad you love that song too…it is very special to everyone in my family indeed. x

  8. I lived in a small country town in Scotland before moving out here and have many memories of nights like that, ceilidhs (pronounced kaylees) as they are known back home. Some planned – the big one at our annual gala day each year, many more that were spur of the moment. Fantastic times that you’ll never forget. Makes me quite nostalgic!

  9. I had my wedding reception in the upper river Kangaroo Valley Hall (it’s a small one, your one looks a tad more upmarket I must say) and it just seemed appropriate for the live music to be a bush band. It was great. Everyone got up and danced and our wedding dance was the heel and toe polka. So yes, I love a good old fashioned shindig, it’s definately good for the soul. We live in a small town near you but closer to the coast and I love the sense of community. Love it, love it, we are lucky people.

  10. HappyandClear says

    I thought I was the only one that remembered that show and of course that beautiful final episode and music by Iris DeMent. I went to the music shop the day after I saw the final episode to order a copy of her music, a pretty daggy move at the time for a teenager I guess but I didn’t care, I loved it and still do.

    Your own little town sounds magical BabyMac. I love visiting your blog and hearing all about it. I never thought before how much it must feel like living in an episode of Northern Exposure everyday. You really are living the dream.


  11. Gibbergunyah says

    I love your little town too, and have been going to the June Fireworks for 15 years now. I had your butcher cater my 30th birthday party, and our friends own the Cafe. I’d love to move back closer one day but “town” (as folk out your way call it) suits us better for the city commute. We very nearly had our wedding reception in the School of Arts. Despite missing out we DID have fantastic Scottish dancing, like a bush dance or Ceilidh, and everyone had a go, even the Aunties. There’s a Ceilidh every year for Brigadoon in Bundanoon which is fantastic.
    I WISH I’d watched Northern Exposure. When I visited the town of Talkeetna in Alaska in 1997 everyone talked about how it was the inspiration for Cicely. Maybe it’s time for a boxed set?

  12. Lisa Mckenzie says

    Beautiful I am so glad you are happy living in your wonderful community you have there it sounds lovely,and I bet when someone needs it everyone pulls together to help,you have got to love that.
    Yes it is very scary about the bushfires they are not far from us about 20 minutes away and we pulled together to donate some clothes to them .I feel so so sad for all those people have lost everything so early in the season,i am a bit scared of how hot it might be by January as we are already having 38 degree days in October!

  13. I was trapped in the fire last Thursday with my 12 month old in the “Springwood/Linksview” fire (although I don’t live at either of those places, they need to reassess names!). Fucking traumatic. Still struggling with day to day life and bursting into tears. Half the houses in my town are gone. Complete rubble.

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