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July 24, 2021

Where is Rockhampton?

Good question. And also, why did I decide to make Rockhampton (known in Queensland as Rocky) the home of Helen’s sister Marian?

Well, it’s a middling-sized regional town on the Fitzroy River in Central Queensland, about a third of the way up the east cost of Queensland from the NSW border. You’ll see some lovely aerial images here.

The closest I’ve ever been to it was from the carriage of the Sunlander train, traveling from boarding school in Townsville down to Brisbane to visit my Grandmother. I just thought it would be a good place for Helen to have a sister. Such is the creative writing process!

It was a total piece of serendipity when I discovered that Allana Noyes, who plays Georgie in the podcast, was going to Rocky for a few days work last month. I asked her to see if she could take a snap of a house that could be where Marian, Georgie’s Grandmother, lives, and to record some birds. Allana not only snapped this elegant Queenslander house, but also managed to record the bats in the Botanical Gardens on one of her walks.

A renovated Queenslander: built to sit high on stilts to provide airflow underneath, but now, underneath has been enclosed. The front and side rooms typically are bedrooms, with the kitchen at the back, and the sitting room in the middle.

For the episode, “Rockhampton Daze”, Georgie is visiting home, where her mother Flora cares for her gran Marian, while her dad Walter is menaced by next door’s cat, Roger. Allana plays both Georgie and Flora, and we enlisted the help of Allana’s husband Bob (actually a Queensland Parks Ranger so he really knows about koalas) to play Walter. Bob is also a marvellous wildlife photographer.

Allana Noyes and Bob Ashdown (in his Park Ranger hat and sunnies) Zooming in from Toowomba. Toowoomba, by the way, is a 2 hour drive up the range, west of Brisbane.

We had a lot of fun trying to create the chaos of a minor incident which may, or may not involve bats (known as flying foxes) and a koala.

Please let me know if you enjoy the episode. Would you like to know more about Georgie and her family?

Golden Rain Tree (koelreuteria paniculata)