How a group of volunteer Rotarians from Pambula raised spirits in Trundle.
Travelling along the Barton Highway, we knew we going to experience something special in Trundle. The beauty of the land whizzing by beckoned us. Spirits were high as we lunched in Cowra and then we realised we were driving into a dust storm, which chased us from Forbes to Trundle. A quick stop for the obligatory photo at Bogan Gate and we knew we were minutes away.
Trundle did not disappoint. Our intention was to establish a sister town relationship with Trundle. Why Trundle? The town has the same population size as Pambula. Rotary has an Adopt A Town project where we are encouraged to support small towns in drought.
We are also a farming community. We had been to fellow Rotarian Clare McMahon’s farm and supported her when she needed it a few months before. She had been hand feeding for months and in the middle of calving season and hadn’t been to any Rotary meetings for months. Rotary members were quietly visiting her, cleaning the house, ironing and helping with farm work. It was on my visit there that I realised she was simply happy to sit down, have a cuppa and a chat. The lift her spirits was invaluable.
I started thinking – if Clare benefitted so much from such simple support, perhaps there were others who may like that too.
Research on Trundle told me that Trundle had been doing it tough for some time. Consultation with our farmers in the Bega Valley came back with a unanimous answer. Help Trundle - they need it more than we do.
Emails started flying and the project moved forward with the input and support of Peter Kelly from the Trundle Progress Association and Charlie Perchenko from Parkes Rotary.
After six weeks of intense emails and conversations we had a date, itinerary and somewhere to stay. Excitement built as the trip drew near.
The historic nature of the Trundle Hotel did not disappoint and the simple country hospitality from the locals meant that we felt at home. We realised the bar was a great place to meet locals who came up, shook our hands and asked what we were doing in Trundle. Everyone we met were supportive of our activities.
Abandoning the bar for twenty minutes, we were introduced to the Trundel Progress Association and Deputy Mayor Barbra Newton. We also met two lovely ladies who won our hearts – Robin Blunden and Marlene Mayall. These ladies joined us several times throughout our stay, encouraging us.
Friday the 23rd was a busy day. First stop, Trundle Newspower, where we organised a gift voucher for each child in Trundle. We had been fundraising in our community, with donations coming from Pambula CWA, Merimbula Rotary, Sapphire Coast Roteract, Pambula Rotary members and friends. The voucher is to support children’s educational needs and buy a small gift for Christmas, if money is tight.
At 10am we were off to Trundle Central School, a beautifully kept and obviously well run K – 12 school. Supervised classed were conducted by Pambula Rotarians who are teachers – Steve Goodchild a former Principal, Jill Goodchild a former preschool Director and Liz Bellette-Stubbs a former high school and special needs Assistant Principal.
The children were delightful and displayed maturity, willingness to learn and curiosity about our whale lessons. We had just had the Eden whale festival and we were happy to share our stories of whale folklore.
A presentation to the Principal of a club banner, a book for primary aged students written by Pambula Rotarian Darryl Dobson OAM and some donations to the library and we were off to our next destination.
Trundle Preschool was joyful and a lovely experience. Director, Helen Yates, warmly welcomed us and the enthusiastic pre-schoolers participated in singing and dancing led by Jill and Steve Goodchild. The enthralled little faces and wide smiles of Rotarians and staff made the day special. A presentation of gift vouchers and a group photograph that we will treasure completed the visit.
Next stop the Citizens Club for lunch with the Men’s Shed, a couple of whom we had met in the bar the night before. Discussions about Men’s shed projects and the BBQ for the Pool Party were high on the agenda. Then it was time for our visit to St Patrick’s School Trundle.
After meeting with Principal Trish Cleal, we were invited to attend the school assembly where we presented them with gift vouchers and books. We were most impressed with the school song which was written by the students themselves.
An hour break and we went to the pool to set up for the party. We had been told two weeks prior that it was likely to be in the 30’s when we visited so a pool party seemed like a good idea. That was until we realised we were dealing with the remnants of the dust storm.
The Trundel children did not let a little bit of wind deter them. They skylarked in the pool with the blow up whales and sharks we bought from Pambula, hungrily devoured the BBQ provided by the Men’s Shed and enjoyed a visit from the Hawaiian shirted Santa.
It was as the children played that we heard some of the sobering stories of Trundel, of how the drought was having a long term effect on families. Our collective skills of farming, country school teachers and counselling meant that we could listen with empathy.
Friday night was spent relaxing at the Trundle Hotel, where we again met many locals. Rotarian Clare McMahon was particularly happy to meet Suddsy, who swapped valuable information about beef cattle. Pambula Rotarian, Seagull, was VERY happy to win the middy raffle and promptly shouted the bar, where he won many new friends. And our President, Lynn Koerbin and her husband Rex, arrived ready to help us of Saturday’s reno project.
We were told that Trundle Preschool had not been painted in years and Director Helen Yates was thrilled that we could update the big room. Blue, yellow and pink was replaced with light, bright white. There is more that needs to be done – something to consider for a future visit.
The camaraderie continued that evening with a dinner at Trundle Citizens Club which was attended by Parkes Deputy Mayor Barbra Newton, Progress Association member Peter Kelly and Parkes Rotary President Jenny Jewell, Trundle Preschool Director Helen Yates and her family and friends, Robin Blunden and Marlene Mayall.
Peter Kelly stunned us with a gift he had made himself. A small BBQ with end plates depicting our Pambula to Trundle logo and facing plates with the sister town relationship cut into it. The preschool friends and family bought wine for the table and a very happy time was spent together.
Reluctantly, we left Trundle on Sunday morning at 7am. As for the success of the trip, Pambula Rotary Youth Director Liz Bellette-Stubbs said, “We were received with open arms and couldn’t have had a better beginning to the sister town relationship.”
Pambula Rotary is already planning strengthening the ties with events to be held in 2019.
Christmas church times
Anglican Parish of Trundle
- Albert: Sunday, December 16, 11.30am.
- Bogan Gate: Monday, December 24, 7.30pm.
- Fifield: Monday, December 24, 11.30am.
- Trundle: Sunday, December 23, 9.30am.
- Tullamore: Sunday, December 23, 11.30am.
Trundle’s Nine Lessons and Carols – Sunday, December 9, 4pm.
The Clean TeQ Sunrise Community Coffee Cart is back in Trundle for a Christmas edition on Friday, December 7 from 9:30am to 11:30am. Clean TeQ will be offering fresh roasted coffee alongside a fundraising cake stall put on by the talented bakers at St Patrick’s P&F.
The Clean TeQ Sunrise team will also be happy to answer any questions about the operation and the significant flow-on benefits for the Parkes Shire through jobs and business support and welcome the Trundle community to attend.
Royal Far West Trundle Branch
Their is having its final monthly meeting on Tuesday, December 11 at 1.15pm at the Op Shop in Trundle. Please come along and have your say at the meeting before we break for the new year.
Trundle Central School will be having its Presentation night on Tuesday, December 11 at 6.30pm at the Trundle Memorial Hall. Come along and celebrate the school student's achievements for the year.
Trundle Community Day Centre will meet on December 7 at Trundle Library. The December 14 will be the Christmas Party then it will break over Christmas till February 15, 2019. Trundle Community Day Centre meet every Friday at the Services and Citizens Centre from 10am till 12noon. Morning Tea and activities. Gold coin donation.