I was dragged emotionally kicking and screaming to the Central Tablelands 21 years ago. I felt I had no choice. I loved my small family.
My father cursed Ian Armstrong, the State Government Minister who forced the disrelocation on thousands of people. And as seems common behaviour by governments run largely by males, totally disregarded the fracturing of lives that this would involve.
I did not want to leave the city with its wonderfully rich cultural diversity and colonial convict history I did not want to leave the close and convenient proximity to my strong network of friends. And our families, especially our parents.
As always, I had a choice. I made that choice. That choice did not make me happier. It was either find a new job and endure a precarious financial situation for my babies, or end the marriage, or move.
Over these intervening 21 years I have measured my acute feelings of loss in the number of times I have used the 'family-and-friends' celebratory Royal Albert 'Tranquility' pattern dinner set. Once?
And by the number of times people just dropped in, as we so used to love in Sydney.
I knew that I loved the family properties and the country around Coonabarabran and Gunnedah in the NSW north west, but at that stage in my life I had no realistic plans to live in the country.
Strangely, 21 years in Orange has made me long for something smaller. 21 years of being a teacher makes one feel like an inflated goldfish stuck in a very small bowl. Paradoxically I wanted something even smaller where the critical numbers of people one could bump into in the course of a day were drastically reduced.
Throughout 37 years of coastal holidays to this area I have fallen even more deeply in love.
I love the anonymity of this small coastal village. I love the large tracts of national park, of river, of farm land, of coast, in between little hamlets and larger towns.
And I love the bend in the road in the photograph. So close to home. So green. Around the bend there is more river, more farmland, and some coast.
No wonder the area was known as 'beautiful views' in the local Aboriginal language.
And the bonus is that Sydney is a mere 1 3/4 hours away.