By Augustine Mathews
Flying into Hughenden has been a surprise. I knew I was headed west but for some reason I was thinking all flat and barren. The area between Townsville and Hughenden is carved into rolling hills traced through with river beds, now mostly dry. Once this was prime seaside, on the coast, or under (depending which period you look into) the Great Inland Sea. Nothing like the red dirt I had thought existed as soon as you leave the coast.
The town itself is a series of wide open streets lined with a collection of shops and sculptures. The world famous Muttaburrasaurus feels alive and well here in Hughenden and so he/she should as this was once one of their major stomping grounds. There are a swag of recycled metal sculptures celebrating the dinosaurs of the region and the spirit of the area.
The people on the street are quick to say hi as I walk past on my way to find lunch at a local cafe. Bluedog seems to have fame here already. As I sat eating my lunch a lady approached and asked if I was “Ernestine”? When I told her my name she blushed (verbally and frankly the exact words not for repeating here yet in not a derogative manner at the error. It seems that she had done a course with Danielle and when she saw me with the camera around my neck she figured I must be me. I thought it was so nice to be noticeable for just being me.
I am up here to help out with the Hughenden Show and I must say it is such a lovely job. The towns-people who are charged with organising this great event are warm and friendly. They all muck in together to get the exhibits registered and displayed. Ladies arrive with buckets of lemons for the “4 lemons on a plate” competition, proud of their crops. (Editor’s note: lemons only for this?) Men help with the moving of the jumps in the main arena in preparation for the equestrian events. The buzz is in the air as the show is coming to town.
Tomorrow should prove to be another exciting day with the arrival of the “showies” with their rides and stalls. Apparently this year they have more than usual and people are getting excited. The Hughenden show attracts a 2000 strong crowd over the 3 days and hotels are at a premium. I am about 20 minutes walk from the centre of town so thought I might have to walk in for dinner (phew, turns out there’s room service). I asked my hostess Sherilee if it was safe to walk around here at night and she laughed. Apparently my big city caution can be put on hold for a while. There is a lot to be said for smaller town safety. I think the only thing I will need to be careful of is the trucks. I have worked out that the reason the streets are so wide is to allow a big rig with 3 trailers full of cattle to turn the corners on the way to the stock yards. I have never seen so many trucks. It is impressive to say the least.
I spent a lovely morning taking some shots of the preparations for the show some of which I have attached here. I must say – if this is working, then I’m glad I’m employed.
(Editors second note: Augustine, go out again without your camera and you know what:)
Hughenden, where giants once roamed.
A section of one of the town's intriguing sculptures.
And the work in preparation continues.