Northern Star Column

Dorrigo, 24/9/09

I was up in Dorrigo recently with the Lonely Horse Band. That’s the mob with whom I’ve done projects at the opal fields in White Cliffs, and out on the malleee at Nymagee, writing, recording and performing songs about these remote, eroded communities.

Dorrigo used to be at the heart of the forestry wars, back in the 90s when the timber barons could sense the coming of the end, as the country began to wake up to the fact that we need trees to survive. That was in the days before Howard, when the ferals raged through the forests, locking down dozers in bare-faced defiance of antiquated laws, while aggressive Unions firing up disgruntled loggers in the pubs.

Dorrigo’s a different town now, the pubs outnumbered by coffee shops. It produces more mementoes of the past than timber and boasts a terrific museum that graphically portrays a tough and often brutal past for the settlers and the dispossessed, casually referred to as the Wild Blacks. The only really wild action occurs on the footy fields or at the RSL when The Re-Mains are in town, which we will be on October 16, or the Lonely Horse Band returns to the Plateau to play the Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival on Oct 22-24th. It’s a lovely town, if you’re not locked on to a dozer.

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