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Ray Carroll’s ‘From the Boundary’: May 21, 2024

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The North Central Review
The North Central Reviewhttps://ncreview.com.au/
The North Central Review is an independently owned newspaper publishing company based in Kilmore that is responsible for publishing two community newspapers each week, covering communities within the Mitchell Shire

Far Far Away

One of the most evocative phrases in the English language is “far, far away”. Life rolls inexorably on, and the past becomes a foreign country whose shores will not reach again in this life. A recent trip through my long-ago-home with a long time friend from Terang High School days was a nostalgic sojourn. The village of Hexham and small townships of Mortlake and Terang where I spent the first 20 years of life, Hexham was almost an idyllic village with a wonderful general store, historic pub, great school, three churches, footy, cricket, and tennis clubs, and my grandfather’s blacksmith “shop”. All are now long gone and it’s now a ghost village beside the Hopkins River, which winds its sad way to the sea near Warrnambool. Only memories remain, but through the shadowy mists of time I can still picture many snippets of happy times, like cricketers Bill and Ian Armstrong batting forever and a day on the parched field of summer, and the sprawling estates of generational names such as Calvert, Hood, Jamieson, Manifold, and Weatherly surviving still on reduced holdings. My father shored at all of the above and loved the Woolongoon Estate of the Weatherly family. A photo of a young Mary Weatherly with her horse Pearl is a reminder of earlier – and in many ways better – time.

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The townships of Mortlake and Terang have about the same populations as decades ago, but they have since lost health and banking services. Victoria’s regions haven’t fared too well under this and prior government. The votes of country folk don’t seem to be important anymore and between the two townships, the pristine countryside is now scarred with unsightly windmills.

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It is people like wonderful teachers, school pals, kind shopkeepers, sports coaches who are mostly remembered. A standout was an Anglican pastor, the Rev Gray who was a father figure to hordes of young kids – be these protestants, “Micks”, or of no faith. He organised sports events, picnics, and concerts, and he and his wife’s kindness was legendary in a simpler and kinder world.

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Young graduates

In recent weeks, I have spoken to new graduates who have given me their thoughts on the transition from secondary college to university.

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Tegan Matthews from Keilor was set to come to ACK, following in the footsteps of some of her relatives. However, from St Christopher’s Primary School she won a scholarship to PEGS and graduated in 2023 with high honours. Now at university and in the early stages of studying medicine, she told me that she finds university is less pressure as students can change their own classes, and decide how dedicated they wish to be. “You can fear or embrace the opportunity to be self guided and independent,” she tells me. Tegan finds university enjoyable and for recreation she plays women’s AFL for Keilor.

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Lilliana Amoroso also graduated in 2023. A Kimore lass with a bright personality, she is studying nursing at Deakin University in Bendigo. She loved her time at ACK and friendships made, but is now happily embracing her new life. Lilliana’s dad Frank was college captain at Assumption in 1993. A talented dancer, she enjoys watching her boyfriend captain the Wallan FC Under 19’s.

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Cooper Knight Martin attended St Patrick’s and ACK. From Broadford, he was set on an army career and was in cadet groups at Puckapunyal. He has now been posted to Gallipoli Fields near Brisbane. He enjoyed his school days but now loves army life and its challenges in uncertain times for our region. He enjoys the discipline and comradeship of army life.

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Fran’s Milestone

Longtime Kilmore resident Fran Comans celebrated a special birthday last weekend with husband Don, their eight children, and several grandchildren. A night out at Hogan’s Hotel in Wallan followed up by a luncheon on Mother’s Day at Tooborac Hotel were highlights for the family, two of whom flew in from Perth and Sydney. A hardworking lady, she has been a great mum and nan. Son Stuart organized the proceedings.

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The brilliant racehorse “Pride of Jenni” owned by former ACK student Tony Ottobre and wife Lynn has just been ranked number one in the world in the latest charts. More on this story in next week’s column.

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