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  • Danielle Locke

My Home, Cobar

After hearing the news of some 130 jobs lost in my small country town of Cobar, I decided to publish this article. I wrote it a few weeks ago, when I was feeling emotional about how the little country town I grew up in, surrounded by my family is slowly crumbling.


I have been living back in Cobar for almost two years now, I spent 10 years in Sydney. But when my marriage ended, I soon realised that there was no way I would be able to afford to live there with my three young daughters. It made sense to move home. All of my family live in Cobar and even if you aren’t related to people in town everyone looks out for one another. Something that cities don’t have.  We also smile at one another down the street. Side note, my grandfather has a bowling green named after him in town.


So, I packed up my things and made the trip back home. It didn’t start off smoothly, (I rode my car off when I hit a pig - but that’s a whole other story). A trip I never thought I would ever do. Being away from home for so long I forgot many things about living back in the country. But, I quickly started remembering them. Things we take for granted in cities.


Things that are basic.


Supermarkets 

I know if I don’t go to the supermarket on the day the truck arrives with fresh produce you are screwed. We don’t get fresh goodies delivered everyday, it comes once a week. Our supermarkets are also not open long hours and we don’t have a huge variety. Also the two supermarkets in town are both owned by the same person. Hello no competition.


Medical facilities

You can’t have babies here. The closest place to have a baby is three hours by car. If you need an MRI or not a basic test done, better hop in your car to because that’s a minimum three hour drive too. Need to see a doctor? Let’s hope it’s not urgent because there could be a three week wait.


Basic amenities

Need a bra? Well, buy it online and hope that it fits or drive three hours because you can’t get one here. Need some towels, sheets, a nice dress a pair of sandals? Same story.


But do you know why Cobar is lacking facilities? It is because of the mines. The very thing that the town was founded on is slowly killing it. We don’t have these facilities because the people who work in the town don’t spend their money here. A lovely thing called 7/7, which essentially means working 7 days and then having 7 days off. Do you know what people do on their 7 days off? Not stay in Cobar.


You see, within our town alone there are three mines. These mines make immense amounts of money from our rich soil. But what do the mines do with this money? Well for one, they don’t put it back into the town. Long ago, in ancient times, (when I was a small person) the mines put money back into the town. Our sporting teams were sponsored by the mines, our school’s were funded, house prices were soaring, community events were held - the town was prosperous and we looked out for one another. Now our town is based in FIFO (fly in fly out) and DIDO (drive in drive out), meaning all of the money that the miners make - goes out of town. 


What exactly does that mean? Well, for instance, tonight we are having meatballs dinner - where did I buy that mince? From the butchers in town.  The vegetables from the supermarket.  But when you are a miner that is FIFO or DIDO 9 times out of 10 the miners stay at mining camps.  Fun fact about mining camps, they provide all meals.  Want to know where they buy their produce from? Not in town. Want to know who they employ?  People from out of town. 


We can’t attract people to stay in our community if we don’t have facilities yet; we can’t get more facilities if the people who work here don’t spend their money here. It feels like we are in a rock and a hard place.


Cobar is a beautiful little town. Our community continues to endure drought and the locals band together to support one another by holding “A night for our Farmer” events. Families in town have been through many struggles and hardships and we come together to help one another. But, our town cannot keep surviving if the people who work here don’t support our community. 


Something needs to change.


D x

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