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Is it safe for women to live in regional Australia?

Is it safe for women to live in regional Australia?
Archie Moore / Valerie Jean Moore in kith and kin 2024 /Digitally altered found photograph / AustraliaPavilion, Venice Biennale 2024 / Graphic design work: Žiga Testen and Stuart Geddes / © the artist / Courtesy: the artist and The Commercial
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Is it safe for women to live in regional Australia? Welcome to our newsy newsletter keeping you up to date with regional headlines that matter, plus other delightful things from life beyond the city.

Regional news round-up

Is it safe for women to live in regional Australia?

“It’s not safe for women to live in rural and regional NSW. We are not safe. We cannot hide like you can in metropolitan areas. Everybody knows everyone and they know where everyone is. So we are not safe.”

This staggering statement comes from Forbes shire mayor Phyllis Miller as the community mourns the death of Molly Ticehurst. The 28-year-old mother and childcare worker was allegedly murdered by a former partner who was granted bail just two weeks earlier for other violent offences against her. 

Molly’s death follows other recent alleged murders in regional areas, including Emma Bates in the Victorian border town of Cobram, and Samantha Murphy, Rebecca Young, and Hannah McGuire in the Ballarat region.

Regardless of where women live, there is a crisis in Australia. Molly Ticehurst was the 25th woman to die from gender-based violence in Australia this year,  according to data interpreted from Counting Dead Women. Eleven more women have been killed than during the same period last year. The rise has prompted Domestic Violence Commissioner Micaela Cronin to call an emergency national roundtable on 7 May to evaluate the Federal Government's National Plan to End Domestic Violence. Cronin says society's tolerance for domestic violence is running out, and policies must change. Read more

Newsletter partner

In partnership with not-for-profit organisation Sustainable Table, Stone & Wood has launched GOOD GRAIN, an industry development initiative raising funds for four regenerative ag, grain-centric projects. The fundraising will culminate in an industry-wide conference on Saturday 17 August at Stone & Wood’s Brisbane Brewery. Stone & Wood invites you to rally together for a good cause and empower Australia’s regenerative grain economy. Find out more at goodgrain.au 

Good news for the night parrot

In the past week or so, The New York Times has been shedding light on Australia's conservation failures, reminding us that we're leading the global pack in species extinctions. Amid the bad news, however, is a glimmer of hope for the elusive night parrot. An anonymous philanthropist has dropped a cool $21 million to buy a Queensland outback cattle station in an effort to give the night parrot a fighting chance. Vergemont Station, 110 km west of Longreach, is now in cahoots with the Queensland Government and the Nature Conservancy to form a conservation powerhouse, linking national parks and creating a sprawling 1.4 million-hectare safe haven. Now, who's keen to give koalas a leg up next? Full story

Toowoomba lion in Venice

Toowoomba-born, Brisbane-based artist Archie Moore sent shockwaves through the art world this week by clinching the prestigious Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale, the first time an Australian has won the top honour. His winning piece, kith and kin, is a powerful exploration of his Aboriginal roots, stretching back 65,000 years, and embodies his deep connection to place. Moore's work features chalk inscriptions on walls and across the ceiling, etching the names of the deceased—each name a poignant reminder of a life lived and lost. The title evokes the old English term for "countrymen" or "one's own land", resonating with Indigenous concepts of belonging and heritage. Moore dived deep into his lineage using ancestry.com and state archives, unearthing more than 500 documents, including coroners’ reports on Aboriginal deaths in custody. Read more

Running out of milk

If you think the $1 milk price war was ancient history, think again. It’s just the tip of the dairy iceberg. Gabrielle Chan reports in her Guardian column this week that Australia's dairy industry has hit the skids, and the government is sounding the alarm. The agriculture committee's final report on food security suggested a National Food Plan and recommended special attention be given to the dairy sector to curb declining milk production. We're not just talking about running out of milk for your latte; it's a national security thing, people!  

Thanks to deregulation, the rise of oat and almond milk, and the ruthless milk price wars fuelled by supermarket giants, Australia's dairy industry is shrinking faster than an ice-cream on a summer’s day. Even with a mandatory code of conduct to keep processors and farmers playing nice, the national dairy herd has gone AWOL, leading to record-high milk prices. So, naturally, we're importing dairy like it's nobody's business. Meanwhile, dairy processors are shutting up shop. Lactalis is shutting its Echuca plant, for example, leaving 70 people out of work. The implications? Dairy farmers are diversifying or getting out altogether, and farmgate milk prices are projected to drop 6% in 2024-2025. In a nutshell, the dairy industry is running as dry as a lactose-free biscuit. Full story

Bottled sunshine

For many Australians, rooftop solar might as well be on Mars. If you rent, live in an apartment, or have heritage restrictions to worry about, solar panels aren't exactly on your radar. But just outside the pint-sized town of Grong Grong, east of Narrandera in NSW, a solar revolution is growing. 

Haystacks Solar Farm is the first project in Australia that lets anybody invest in solar energy. It’s been dubbed Australia's first solar “garden”, giving a piece of the renewable pie to folk who usually get left out. The farm runs on a co-op system; members pay a fee to join, then buy a solar garden plot, and those funds are used to build the solar farm. Once it's operational, members earn credits on their electricity bill. This community-owned initiative is launching this weekend, and it's set to change the solar game by showing that renewable energy can be for everyone. Read more

Don't try this at home

You know we love a snake story here at Galah, so it’s no surprise that this week’s warning from Queensland hospitals caught our eye. Some well-meaning people are catching snakes and bringing them into hospitals with their snake-bite victims in a misguided belief that this will help medical teams. Reader, it does not. Hospital staff can’t deal with live snakes. So please, immobilise the bite victim, bandage the bite area, and get to a hospital pronto. Don't wash the affected area; doctors can take swabs, then figure out the best course of action. Full story

This week's newsletter is sponsored by Stone & Wood

Tell us about it

Seems Galahs love regional biotech stories. Writes on-the-ground Galah Lyndal Guthrie: “Regional biotech and innovation has to be my absolute favourite regional topic and I cannot wait for Galah’s Issue 10. There are just so many clever, innovative and crucial enterprises, but do check out bioreclamation company Huum. It’s working on an important and fascinating idea that will pique interest and perhaps challenge the constitution of some readers: human-waste composting.”

Galah goss

Mother's Day lunch

Annabelle and Bookoccino, the much-loved bookshop at Avalon, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, are throwing a Mother’s Day lunch party on Sunday 12 May. Gather at Avalon Sailing Club to celebrate creativity, the mothers in our lives, and the new Galah book. I’m more than a bit jelly that she gets the chance to tuck into treats by whole-food chef Holly Davis. Tickets here 

Speaking of Mother's Day...

Mums love Galah, so it makes a really good Mother's Day present. Peruse the Galah shop to find the perfect present for mum - choose from our gift-that-keeps-on-giving Galah Gift Subscription, a beautifully packaged bundle of the new Galah Book with our latest Issue 09 perfect for sending straight to mum, or a 2-for-1 bundle including a selection from Issues 06, 07 and 08. 

What's on

Rallies To End Gender-Based Violence In Australia 

This weekend thousands of people are set to march at rallies across Australia, calling for an end to gender-based violence. Find information on today’s rallies via this link. Read more

Grampians Grape Escape

This weekend-long festival in Grampians National Park (Gariwerd) in Victoria showcases food, wine, whisky, art, cooking demonstrations, live music and good times. On 3-5 May. Read more

Tate Adams In Black and White

Though he was best known as a printmaker, Adams’s artistic career began and ended as a painter. Adjusting to the onset of macular degeneration in the latter half of his life, Adams created large-scale gouaches, and this exhibition is a celebration of his talent. 4 May-7 July, at Pinnacles gallery, Townsville Qld. Read more

Agfest field days

Rural Youth volunteers have been organising Agfest in Tasmania for more than 40 years, delivering an event regarded as one of the top three agricultural field days in Australia. This year’s Agfest features 700 exhibitors and organisers expect 60,000 visitors. On 2-4 May, at Carrick, northern Tasmania. Read more

In the flock

Multi-sensory artist Cara-Ann Simpson. Photo by David Martinelli – DC Imaging.

Cara-Ann Simpson, artist, curator, cultural heritage expert

Interview by Emma Hearnes

Stealing flowers from her neighbour’s garden was the start of Simpson’s journey from a living death to a new life. In 2017 she spent almost a year in hospital with a brain infection, eventually being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and neurosarcoidosis. She credits nature for helping her make sense of the world through a challenging rehabilitation. 

Where do you live and work?

My home is on the lands of the Wakka Wakka nation in the small regional community of Haden in southern Qld. It’s a beautiful area of small farms, pockets of bushland, and rolling hills. My partner Michael and I live on a farm in a converted shearing shed with our two dogs, Alfie and Ada.

What's been absorbing your attention lately?

I’ve just finished my first major solo exhibition in over a decade. It’s been nearly seven years in the making and is a multi-sensory exhibition exploring the wonder of plants. It was exhibited at the University of Southern Queensland Art Gallery and I’m looking to tour it around regional Australia. I’ve also started a contract with The Condensery, at Somerset Regional Council, as the curator of its inaugural Environment Biennial, and I’m studying a law degree.

In your multi-sensory work, what sense are you honing next?

Over the past year I’ve been developing skills in perfumery for my creative practice. I’m interested in recreating bushland scents around me. It is a practice steeped in deep listening, Earth admiration, and plant love.

Who is a regional artist we should know about?

Ben Tupas based on Giabal, Jarowair and Western Wakka Wakka land (Toowoomba) is an artist working with video, photography, and graphic design. At the heart of his practice are human stories grounded in place. I love that Ben’s experiments with materials and techniques create a sense of physical and metaphorical weaving – like the threads of a story being drawn together.

One last thing

Arisa Trew. Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images for Laureus.

Ramping on the red carpet

Arisa Trew is tearing it up. At just 14, this Gold Coast prodigy is the first female skateboarder to take home the Laureus Action World Sportsperson of the Year Award, celebrated at a ceremony in Madrid. Talk about a breakthrough year. She was also honoured as the first female to land a 720, a trick involving two full rotations in mid-air, stunning the skating world in Salt Lake City in June last year. She was 13 at the time. 

The rising star rolled into the Laureus ceremony with her skateboard and impressed with her tricks on the red carpet, proving she has charisma on and off the ramp. Full story 

What’s new(s)?

We’d love to hear about the news, events and people that should be making the headlines in the Galah Weekly newsy. Share what’s new(s) in your neck of the woods with us at newsie@galahpress.com