Monday, 7 January 2013

Dead But Not Dying

With only a population of about 500 people, you'd think the little wheat farming town of Wudinna (pronounced "Woodna") would have very little going for it. On the contrary. Since my last visit in 2009, a few lovely changes have taken place. Normally I wouldn't give two hoots about the place, it had no appeal to me. But in my absence it has sprung some little treasures.

First is Alycia's, a little cafe owned and run by one of my mother's former employees. Alycia has decorated it in a sweet and clean shabby chic style with white furnishings and coloured accents. She sells handmade necklaces and earrings. Besides focaccias and wraps, Alycia sells little homemade sweets like shortbread and macaroons. I love her milkshakes and her specials board always has something different. Last time I hooked into sushi. Who would have thought? Sushi in Wudinna! And just when you think she's covered it all, if you need a bunch of flowers, she can do that too.

Secondly is Lil' Birdie, a boutique gift and home wares shop. It's filled with scarves, necklaces, earrings, handbags and purses. The home wares on offer makes me want to buy up and entertain. There are childrens toys amongst it plus a few blokier gifts. And the baby corner (no, I'm not getting clucky) is full of the most adorable things like pink, lime and white floral buntings and pastel coloured soft toys and outfits.

Thirdly is May's Kitchen. It's a little Thai restaurant and take-away. Owned and run by May, a lovely lady, the diner seems to hold it's own in such a tiny, little, country town.

Of course Garryowen is still there but very much scaled down. With half the business moved to Victoria, it's up to Sean, the owner’s son to keep things going. He still sells the much-loved chutneys, jams, sauces and spice rubs for roasts on behalf of his mother. But the cafe side of things have ended indefinitely.

The construction of a rather large sculpture has given the town a little bit more of a tourist attraction. This sizable, granite creation is supposed to represent the Australian farmer (which is also the art's namesake). With icons of wheat and sheep carved out of it it stands on a base that has the names of all the sponsors on one side and two of the other sides have etched into them the names of the biggest farming families in the district whose heritage in the area runs back for generations.

I've never seen Wudinna in the winter. I find it hard to believe that the area does go green during the middle of the year. I found it even harder believe when I discovered the average rainfall is only 300mm per year. But a picture posted on Facebook by a friend of mine proved to me that yes, it does get green as the photo showed sheep yards sitting atop an undulating, emerald expanse. For a town that survives on grain crops and sheep, being able to thrive in turbulent times gives it alot to be proud of.
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The Australian Farmer Sculpture

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