16.05.17
On the road. Swan Hill and Balranald

16.05.17<br />
On the road. Swan Hill and Balranald

We are leaving the Murray River, Swan Hill and Balranald. Menindee is our next stop, driving through the Mungo National Park.

Memories from our stay here include arriving at Harrison Hall in Swan Hill to find a manila envelope strategically placed on our set from a gentleman, a ropemaker and historian, who lives in the region. He has written an intriguing ballad about Charlie Grey and Billy the horse which suggests that Burke did not leave on a horse named Billy, but came upon said horse in Swan Hill and that it was owned by Charlie Grey.

Burke fell in love with Billy and wanted to buy him, couldn’t afford it, so offered Charlie fame and fortune as one of the first Europeans to cross Australia from South to North if he gave him the horse.

Charlie accepted the offer and, according to this ballad, later regretted it. I am not able to quote the whole ballad here, but the last stanza is haunting:

Burke had offered fame for Billy, to the bushman Charlie Grey,

for the service of a horse, whose price he could not pay.

Awaiting still upon Swan Hill to claim this promised fame,

Charlie’s spirit, with a big grey horse, still walk Tyntynder’s Plain.

Charlie’s spirit, with a big grey horse, still walk Tyntynder’s Plain.

Another very memorable moment occurred during our drama workshop with an enthusiastic, talented bunch of kids from Balranald Central Primary and St Joseph’s from Balranald, and students from Clare Public School who had travelled 150 kms to see our show and participate in our drama workshop.

We facilitate a workshop that allows students to gain some basic essential skills in making theatre, and at the end of our 90-minute session the students, split into four groups, had each written two sentences about their region and created a physical picture to communicate this sentiment.

Our most memorable moment was two girls on hands and knees on the ground, two other girls sitting on their backs and holding the other girl’s long hair like the handlebars of a motorcycle. Their sentence was – “We love Balranald because of riding motorcycles and shooting.”

The Storey Players have thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone in this wonderful area, and hope to visit again soon.