/ 7 min read

And just like that

And just like that
A scene from the newly wallpapered room at newsletter editor Michelle Crawford's home The Bowmont. Last week she was hanging on by a finger nail, but she survived and now has the beauty of this room to bask in.
Share this post

Just like that, Michelle Crawford brings us her last Galah Weekly newsletter (for now) and the regional news wrap: Flying Whales, wine hangovers and interview tantrums.

The mornings are getting darker, the days shorter, and summer is definitely on the turn. A week of extreme temperatures and damaging winds proves that summer’s not giving up without protest. It’s so incredibly dry here in southern Tasmania, we’re all hanging out for the “autumn break” when much-needed rain is meant to return. 

I’ve been writing this newsletter since early September, just as the days were getting longer, and now as summer fades it's time to step away from the weekly desk. The dazzlingly talented writer Anna Rogan is your new weekly editor, although I'll still be hanging around in the background, writing a story for Issue 10 and other Galah bits and pieces.

It’s been a dream being part of the Galah team. I’ve loved showing up in your inbox every Sunday. Thanks for having me.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Michelle Crawford

Galah Weekly Editor

Regional news wrap: Flying Whales, wine hangovers and interview tantrums

A CGI image of the Flying Whales airship.

Supermarket scrutiny Just as we were about to grab the popcorn to watch the fallout from Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci’s botched interview with Four Corners, he announced his retirement, saying it had nothing to do with the interview. Amanda Bardwell, the current managing director of Woolies e-commerce division, steps into the role in September. Banducci still has a few hoops to jump through before he can walk off with $24 million in his trolley. And he’ll be involved in an ACCC inquiry, where he won’t be able to walk out. Keeping the pressure on supermarkets, The Conversation lists eight ways that supermarkets squeeze their suppliers and customers. And for a trip down memory lane, The Guardian recaps some interview tantrums over the years.

Wins and losses The closure of a regional factory - in this case the Betta Milk factory in north-west Tasmania resulting in almost 50 job losses - is disheartening news. In regional Victoria, however, the job market looks promising. The French start-up Flying Whales is hoping to develop its airship operations in Ballarat, handling freight too cumbersome for road transport or delivering to locations with difficult access. Unlike the ill-fated Hindenburg, these airships use helium not hydrogen. Flying Whales aims to start manufacturing by 2025 and hopes to obtain regulatory approval for airborne operations by the end of 2027. Read more 

Newsletter partner The dust has been blown off the Tourist Hotel in Narrabri, restored recently as the Art Deco jewel of NSW’s north-west. Now with a gastro pub menu, new wine list, and boutique accommodation, it’s a food lovers’ destination. Open daily, the hotel is the perfect place to relax and unwind, and to celebrate special events. Upgraded rooms combine 1930s glamour with modern luxuries, creating an ideal place to stay while visiting the region. Surrounded by shops, dining options and a cinema, the Tourist Hotel is the place to be in Narrabri. Discover more

Grape glut Wine producers have reported one of their best harvests in years following warm weather and consistent rainfall. However, a glut in the domestic wine market continues to push prices down, with an estimated current oversupply of two billion litres. Farmers in South Australia’s Riverland, Australia's biggest wine grape-growing region, are preparing for crisis talks as prices plummet to early 1970s figures. Some wineries are offering growers as little as $120 a tonne, while production costs are estimated to be about $300 a tonne. Read more

Behind the paywall Why does Galah link to stories behind paywalls? In response to your comments on the issue, Galah editor-in-chief Annabelle Hickson jumped onto social media this week to explain why. In summary, she believes we need to normalise the notion of paying for media, and she argued for the importance of consuming a balanced news outlook from a variety of sources. The Australian, in particular, is one news source that reports widely on regional Australia (the clue is in the masthead). This New York Times story analyses the collapse of legacy news sources and the importance of paying for credible media.


The Tourist Hotel in Narrabri, NSW. It's the place you want to be, right in the heart of town.

What's on

Linda Keough, cry (2024), oil on canvas part of Celebrating our Landscape

Celebrating our Landscape Handmark Gallery celebrates the beginning of the “Glover Prize season” with a special landscape exhibition at the Clarendon Arms, Evandale, in northern Tasmania. Open 4 March-4 April. Read more 

The Edible Garden Trail Across the NSW Blue Mountains, backyard vegetable growers, large and small, open their gardens to the public for a weekend celebration of home-grown food and backyard production. On 2-3 March. Read more  

Paris: Impressions of Life 1880–1925 Bendigo Art Gallery stages a journey through the streets of historic Paris evoked by artisan street signs, historic couture, decorative arts and everyday ephemera alongside paintings by artists including Jean Béraud, Maurice Utrillo and Paul Signac, as well as graphic prints by Toulouse-Lautrec. On 16 March-24 July. Read more 

RE-EMERGENCE - Every Storm Gives Way To A New Sunrise This is an uplifting film by disabled actors from across rural NSW about their experiences of drought, bushfires and the pandemic. Screening on Friday 22 March,7.30pm, at Hume Conservatorium, Goulburn. On Saturday 23 March, 7.30pm, at Twyford Hall, Merimbula. And Saturday 6 April, 2pm, at Uniting Church, Queanbeyan. Read more 

Clunes Booktown Festival Apologies, we got the date wrong in last week’s newsie. The correct dates for this festival in regional Victoria are 23-24 March. Read more

Pre-order Galah Issue 09 for Mothers Day

Show Mum that you love her with Galah. Pre-order or subscribe before midnight Thursday 29 February to receive free shipping (a saving of $10).

In Issue 09 you’ll: learn how an amateur musical changed a small town; celebrate the life of master artist John Olsen; chart the Great Regional Migration with Gabrielle Chan; take the plunge with the underwater gardener; read about the late blossoming of an opal-mining artist; talk radical garden design with Kurt Wilkinson; pack the picnic blanket for autumn lunch; get hooked on fly fishing, obsession and mindfulness; discover how building a library can rebuild a life; follow an insider’s travel guide to Orange; make a sea change, with oysters; and, visit the land where chocolate grows on trees.

Subscribers also receive: online access to Galah’s back catalogue of magazine stories; extended regional travel guides; Annabelle’s fortnightly email full of regional ramblings from her pecan farm on the NSW-Queensland border; first dibs on any Galah new releases; and early access to Galah events.

In the flock

Image credit Lean Timms.

Annaliese Gregory is a chef, writer and television presenter based in Tasmania’s Huon Valley. Hailed as one of the most exciting chefs of her generation, Analiese Gregory swapped the dazzling Michelin star restaurants of Paris’s Le Meurice and Sydney’s Quay to cook in a century old cottage at the bottom of the world in Tasmania. 

What inspires your style? So many things, art, travel, Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, Devol kitchens, I love texture, the colour green and old things that have had past lives.

Favourite place to eat and stay in regional Australia? I love Tasmania's east coast; the colour of the water, the red rocks, the deserted beaches, the fact that it's slightly warmer than where I live. To eat you can’t go past the Waterloo at Swansea, The Lobster Shack at Bicheno or Melshell Oysters. Then stay at the Burrows, or the modern pavilions at Freycinet Lodge, with outdoor baths and floor to ceiling glass. For a gorgeous free camping spot, head to Cosy Corner at Bay of Fires.

What's been absorbing your attention lately? I am attempting to build a ten- seater restaurant at my property in the Huon Valley, about 30 minutes south of Hobart, and it's fair to say it's been absorbing a lot of my time and mental space!

What's a story you often tell yourself? If you feel like moving to the bottom of the world to live with a couple of goats in a hundred year old cottage then you should. It won't be easy, you'll be colder than you ever realised was possible, some days your goats will escape and you'll spend hours searching for them, but other days you will wake up and smile at the little world you've created and know that it makes you happy.

What are you having for dinner? Abalone san choi bau, Tasmanian summer is the time for leaf wrapped foods, minimal cooking and a lot of tomato and stone fruit salads.

One last thing

While OpenAi launched Sora last week, an AI model that can create frighteningly realistic scenes from text instructions in seconds, we’re loving Tasmanai, the latest tongue-in-cheek Tourism Tasmania campaign. Hop online and submit a prompt, and real Tassie artists will pick their favourite requests and create pieces of art in response. Not a robot in sight. Submissions close on 4 March. Read more

Galah would like to send a message of thanks and gratitude to Michelle Carwford for doing such a brilliant job with the Weekly newsletters these past months. If you'd like to stay in touch with Michelle, follow her on Instagram or her Substack newsletter.