Tom Melville 00:00
Hi, I'm Tom Melville and Welcome to Voice of Real Australia. Each episode we bring you people, places, and perspectives from beyond the big cities. Despite the central role the bush plays in Australia's founding mythology, this country's history has really been urban in nature. So it's fascinating to watch as decades old trends in city-bound migration upended. It seems we're leaving the coast and heading inland for a whole bunch of reasons -- the pandemic, price, quality of life, a desire for something new, or simply a spirit of adventure. So today I'm bringing you two stories about people who left Australia's densely populated shores and fell in love with the interior. An unexpected outback postie, and a couple of gen z treasure hunters. John Handscombe is ACM's national roving reporter. He and I visited White Cliffs -- an opal mining town of 150 odd who mainly live underground. It's in one of the most remote areas of NSW, right in the corner near the South Australian and Queensland borders. It's wild country, dominated by red dirt and rocky scrub, on the edge of Australia's ancient dried up inland sea. It's a town filled with treasure hunters and misfits, drawn to the vastness, the harshness, the promise of riches. The beauty and the terror.
Gaye Nicholls 01:16
It was just a building that was sitting here in that, in a very, very decrepit state, and I saw its beauty.
Tom Melville 01:23
That's Gaye Nicholls. She grew up in Sydney and spent pretty much her whole life in the city. White Cliffs' dusty main street is a world away from the Sutherland Shire of her childhood. But she's 74 years old now, and this is her home.
Tom Melville 01:40
What it makes you wonder, which is something we've come across as we've been on our journey so far. Why it's so under resourced? I guess why people don't come here. Yeah. Because I mean, if you know there's there's more natural riches if you want to compare it to somebody like Kakadu.
Gaye Nicholls 01:54
I'm so glad, like I first discovered Flinders in the 70s. And that become commercialised, fabulous, but now very ritzy, high class accommodation, very much a tourist experience. This is authentic. This is the real Outback. This is actually not known about. It's a secret. This area, this Outback West area of the Paroo, and the darling and this area and the history is little known. And that's good. Well, good in one way bad another because it's fabulous part of the story of Australia.
Tom Melville 02:38
Gaye lives in a marvelous federation building with a tin roof and wide balconies on Johnston street, just up the road from the pub. It's the old post office and she shows John Handscome and I pictures of the place from the time it was built -- around 120 years ago.
Gaye Nicholls 02:53
And it's got a room there which is the dressing room. Well basically covered sort of clothes, but that's where the coachmen used to sleep when they'd come up. And then the interior was the was the postmasters residence. But it's beautiful, and that's the original glass that's 100 years old, opalescent. You know that sort of pearlier look very beautiful. And I love the orchids in front of it.
Tom Melville 03:20
Gaye crackles with energy and enthusiasm. She's warm, welcoming with a motherly air about her -- I can imagine her chastising me for chucking a tennis ball inside. She's in love with her home, and takes us on a tour.
Gaye Nicholls 03:32
And I just bought the windows and then I had a fellow in Broken Hill put the glass in. Gorgeous. Now every window is a picture and you know you look through and you see the casier out there and you see the grape vines in the summer and then they turn red and you see those through the glass so the glass is really a feature. And in the mornings when I wake up but it actually comes through that window and those red.
Tom Melville 03:57
The house is pale yellow on the outside with steep roofs and wooden gables. She bought the house in 2007 for around $100,000 -- she's spent at least that peeling back the additions and quirks layered onto it over 120 years. The cladding around the chimney in her living room is a perfect example.
Gaye Nicholls 04:11
I wanted to create beauty, beauty and peace and harmony, beauty I wanted to make something beautiful and it is it is its creation and I've never done anything like it before. Like I have a medical research background. So I'm nerdy. Head, not heart. This is heart.
Tom Melville 04:31
The cladding around the chimney in her living room is a perfect example.
Gaye Nicholls 04:35
That was all covered with plaster and had a mantel and it was all cracked and broken. And we had to get the plaster off because it was all flaking off and that was underneath. Well look, you can even see this is opal rock. See this potch up here. Isn't that amazing (Tom: of course) and it was all covered up like a proper. I'll show you, well you saw in the bedroom. Like Like a chimney with a mantal and so each of these chimneys are like that underneath.
Tom Melville 05:07
A beautiful seam of ocean coloured White Cliffs opal runs through the rough hewn red stone used in the chimney. There is treasure hidden out here.
Gaye Nicholls 05:16
I've lived in Sydney the whole of my life and Montreal to do post grad work. And I didn't know anything beyond other. So came out on the Indian Pacific to go to Flinders Ranges. So Broken Hill and thought, oh, there's so much heritage. It's the only complete heritage city in Australia. And that's because Simon Molesworth lives there. And he was president of National Trust. So he got the whole city miners cottages, all the funny things that have happened, heritage listed so that town will be the same forever and more a part of that story, because that's BHP, the Broken Hill and the slag heap was the Broken Hill. Wow.
Tom Melville 06:03
Gaye's background is in scientific research -- she was a member of the team which developed the cochlear implant for kids who can't hear.
Gaye Nicholls 06:10
They went from the most easy to the most difficult, which was a child who'd never heard she was deaf from birth, the others had all heard, and all the other patients up to that point, had all heard before. So the breakthrough was a child who'd never had hearing, hearing with a cochlear implant, she was six, and it went all around the world. It was televised. The switch on which I did, I had to work out how to set the electrodes with a child who had no language to understand what we're doing.
Tom Melville 06:41
We take it for granted now, but it was earth shattering stuff in the 1980s.
Gaye Nicholls 06:45
We were all crying. Obviously. God, she was waiting to hear her mother talk. She was talking to her. It was incredible. The most mind blowing thing you could imagine
Tom Melville 07:01
That little girl is called Pia Jeffrey, and Gaye always wondered what came of her. She was born deaf and doctors thought she'd never learn to speak. Recently, Gaye saw a documentary in which Pia was interviewed.
Gaye Nicholls 07:12
It went to the presenter coming towards the camera, and Pia coming towards him to these chairs. And he said to her it's, it's nice to meet you Pia and she said, It's nice to meet you too. I couldn't believe it
Tom Melville 07:30
Like it was the most normal thing in the world, talking,
Gaye Nicholls 07:32
Beautifully. And then she sat down and had this full conversation with highly intelligible speech, highly developed language, and found out that you know, she had gone on to do a science degree and works in the Bureau of meteorology. Even though she began language at six, beyond the critical period for language development, you mean to develop language between birth and six? Right? She started at six. Could it happen? Did! Amazing.
Tom Melville 08:03
But that was a past life, her city life. A life that imbued her with a tremendous sense of possibility. Who else would look at a century old tumble down outback post office and see an oasis in the desert? Did you consider doing the mail runs before you bought a post office?
Gaye Nicholls 08:19
No, no. I didn't even know what that involved.
Tom Melville 08:27
Did this place come with the mail run?
Gaye Nicholls 08:29
No there was other a young man who was doing it. And I got a phone call from Broken Hill saying he hadn't turned up. So can you send someone out to do the mail run? Because he hadn't turned up? And he'd been doing it for 30 years. And I thought, why don't we do and we didn't even know what the route was. So we just started doing three mail runs within a week. And it was all trial and error. And that was exciting.
Tom Melville 08:55
Things escalated after that initial phonecall. For the past decade Gaye has been an outback postie.
Gaye Nicholls 09:01
From here, it was 400k out there just as short one downto Wilcannia three times a week. That one was two days a week and that took me across the Paroo. And then there was another one done to Ivanhoe in that area. So I'd go down to Ivanhoe and come back different ways. So it's the largest shire. And I did the largest runs and they were the most difficult runs in Australia. Big Outback adventures. There was a lot of guys here wouldn't take them on. I thought, Hey, I think I can do this. And here I am this dotty old lady tripping out there. five days a week, it was five days a week, three half days, two full days, three and a half 1,000k a week in our back conditions amazing stuff.
John Hanscome 09:51
So when you're out on those lonely roads by yourself what's going through your head?
Gaye Nicholls 09:56
Oh um enjoyment You know, just a wonderful experience. I was always four wheel driving. So I'm challenged, you know, going in and out of creek beds and getting bogged and having to change wheels and all those things that happen when you're out there. But I also listen to podcasts. Cause your mind just goes on a journey, and I take my dogs these two have been on every run with me. And you pull up at mailboxes, you'd leave their mail. And I was on a journey in my heart and mind as well as a physical journey. So it's very, very
Tom Melville 10:40
Gaye was given access to a whole universe and its characters most Australians only hear about in snatches of bush poetry. Do you develop relationships with people?
Gaye Nicholls 10:48
Very much so. Sometimes they come and meet me just to have a talk and say, coming from wanting to so I go and have a chat. And they all knew my progress around the round. So if ever I was stuck, say, fixing a tyre or something like that, they'd be on the phone saying if using gay, where is she She must be between you and they, there was this massive, massive network out there of care. Isn't that lovely? These isolated people who, because sometimes they're 90 kilometres away from each other, I would spend 90 kilometres to get from one place to the next massive, and they sort of followed me around. So as part of the network, and they relied on me, I took also things you know, motorbike parts and groceries and everything. Everything was that was a privilege.
Tom Melville 11:38
We experienced a bit of this bush telegraph ourselves on our trip out to Western NSW. Station owners would send us on, letting their neighbours know we were coming through. You are connected out there -- part of a thread which stitches the outback together. Her postal service is over now, she's on to new things. Writing. The woman can't sit still. She's writing about her life as a pioneering scientist in Sydney. She could also fill volumes with the memories and stories of her time in white cliffs -- what she refers to as the most wonderful period of her life.
Tom Melville 12:10
I wonder if do you sort of get as John here has mentioned, the the fear that I think the Australian psyche has of the deep west, the outback, when you're looking out over that dead sea? Do you get it? Do you feel that too.
Gaye Nicholls 12:24
I was definitely frightened when I first came out, in fact, to get from Broken Hill out to here to come and see this place, which I saw in an advertisement in the Barry Daily Review, post office for sale. And it said heritage building. And I thought I've got to go and have a look. I was frightened to get in my car and drive three hours to get here. And I said to them, Well, you know, I've never done this before. It's a big adventure. I'm leaving at this stage. How long will it be? You know, if I don't come? Will you come looking for me? I just had no idea. And to go from that level of fear of the unknown to, to spending 10 years driving out there and being part of that and I never, ever felt that I'd be left in isolation. There was always a safety net, that people do that
Tom Melville 13:25
Would the place work if that didn't happen?
Gaye Nicholls 13:28
No, because it's isolated and it's frightening.
Tom Melville 13:32
And it is properly dangerous.
Gaye Nicholls 13:33
Yeah yeah, and you can die if you're stranded out here on a 45 degree heat day. And you're out there which I have been. And I had my 90 year old mother in the car and some wire fencing wire had wrapped around the main shaft and it stopped the car, right? So I had to wiggle under the car and saw this great thing of wire holding the main shaft and it was very very hot because it was 45 degrees and sand that I'm lying on was very hot. So I'm under the car thinking crap is horrible. And I got out and I made I made a phone call to the police triple-o you can get to them anyway. And I said I have a problem. And they said they'd send the helicopter because I only had limited water and you've got two hours before you know without water in that heat and you'll die. So they said they would send out help. And I got back under the car and I got my trusty wire cutters and I started clipping away and pulling bits of wire clipping pulling bits of wire took me about half an hour, but I beat them I got out before the helicopter had come out. That's happened several occasions where I've got lost one time to, or I've been stuck and I've had to backtrack and it's taken me four hours to get home and things like that. Yeah, there's a safety net.
Tom Melville 15:12
Is that emotion that we just saw, is that gratitude?
Gaye Nicholls 15:15
Yeah, just one moment. One moment that I've had so many extraordinary times, experiences of being saved, you know danger.
Tom Melville 15:31
What stuck with her is the pace of life out here in this ancient landscape.
Gaye Nicholls 15:35
Time and Space hit you in a different way. And you have to adapt, you have to work like the space and the freedom going out there into sort of this endless space and then seeing and all of the changes you know, when there's spring flowers and when it's in drought and when it's in rain and Ah yeah, so I've become very connected to the space the place and to the freedom of the of the time you know, you're not constrained by time you're not in in tight routines. You're not sitting in traffic and getting to places there's there's much more time so I never had that. I'm excited. Well, it's a it's a combination of ice. Got the Galliano. This beautiful yellow Gallianio and vodka and orange juice.
Tom Melville 16:46
Thank you. Thank you for having us.
Tom Melville 16:49
Gaye Nicholls, the unlikely postie, in her White Cliffs home. The house really is a treasure, but White Cliffs sits on top of treasure of a different kind: opal. It's the only place in the world you can find pineapple opals -- fist sized hunks of jagged, crystalline opal the colour of a cloud strewn sunrise and sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. There have only been a few hundred recorded finds and in the past the unique formations were broken apart and sold for their opal weight. It was only relatively recently that opal hunters recognised the value of these rare objects. The allure of treasure is strong in White Cliffs -- it must be, because miners can spend years underground in cramped conditions, sleeping in tin sheds through cold desert winters or sweltering through forty degree days with not a huge amount to show for it. A big find is out there, you just have to keep moving dirt. I'm told it's an old man's game, so gen z treasure hunters Jay and JC buck the trend. They're 24 years old and came out from the coast a few years back. Since then, they've succumbed to opal fever.
Jaymin Sullivan 17:57
Water travels down through the earth millions and millions of years ago water collects silica from places such as sandstone and that sandstone mold that silica rich solutions are is deposited into the cracks, voids and fissures in the earth, which then over a long period of time of this repeating. It eventually hardens into opal.
Tom Melville 18:14
That's Jay Sullivan, he actually grew up around here -- his parents were miners too -- but moved to the central coast for highschool. He's showing John and I around his parents' opal showroom -- the red earth opal cafe. He's tall and has the air of a tour guide.
Jaymin Sullivan 18:28
The other things we're looking for a specimen pieces or things that can be kept as just a specimen, people collect this sort of stuff. This is a bit of wood. So you can see this in the end there's like a little bit of a green purple flash. So that's basically just like opal is pooled on the outside and kind of see the concentric rings in the water as well.
Tom Melville 18:49
The fossils he's showing us are millions of years old from a time when this desert was an inland sea. The shell in his hand has been replaced by shimmering flashes of blue white opal. John asks him about it.
John Hanscome 19:00
What's it like ifnding somethign that ancient?
Jaymin Sullivan 19:05
It's pretty cool. Like when you do discover something like the fossils are always really awesome. These are probably three of my favorite just here, which are not too hard to tell what these ones are just being shells.
Tom Melville 19:17
But opalised pippie it's pretty exciting.
Jaymin Sullivan 19:19
Yeah, definitely like, I mean, we find shells and it is such a rare day to find one that's intact, and it has color, most of them will just fall apart. Or there'll be what we call skin shells, which just don't have a solid opal garlic solid opal going all the way through them. But yeah, I mean, it's super special to find these things like it's, we found maybe two or three of these our entire time out here, and we're always looking for more.
Tom Melville 19:41
Jay came out here first, then sent word back to his friends on the coast about what a wonderful time he was having. He wooed them with promises of riches -- they would become millionaires. James Caruana -- known by his mates as JC -- followed soon after and he's here to stay.
James Caruana 19:56
A lot of my family think it's really, really crazy doing all this and whenever I go back to very, very close on my family, the big family events and that everyone's just kind of like, wow jow are you doing that? How's it going? And I'm sitting there, from the other point of view going, Well, how you guys are doing your day to day life? How do you guys put up with doing this? It's just, you know, they think I'm mental and I think they're mental.
John Hanscome 20:21
So have you succumbed to opal fever?
James Caruana 20:24
Absolutely. Within that first like year, that was just you know, and it was, were living out here on the field pretty, pretty bloody destitute, you know, we don't have running water. And we have decided genny off if we aren't power. But you know, when you go down and dig, and when you find some flash in the ground and find some color, it's insane. It's just so we had a pretty good find recently. And that was just like, Holy moly, like, look at this. This is just stunning color coming out of the ground. It doesn't take much you can find one little bit and like, like, the other day when I was walking around, just kicked a random shell and I was like, Holy moly. This is where I can find them. And this whole field is just full of secrets kind of thing. You know, and if we're out here and we do the digging, we can find it.
Tom Melville 21:10
Do you want to be opalised when you pass away?
James Caruana 21:13
That would be the dream. If I get stuck out in a hole out here, you know, I just bury me there. And then in 100 million years, you know some space humans will come along and find me opalised. Maybe opalised teeth. Or opalised eyeballs, that'd be that'd be the one.
Tom Melville 21:31
When you think of an opal field underground dugout, I'm sure you're thinking of dim, dusty passages with jagged walls and a musty, foetid air. But that's not the case -- all of the dugouts I've visited have been beautifully appointed and somehow well-lit with wonderful ventilation. The people of White Cliffs take pride in their subterranean dwellings. The red earth opal cafe is no different -- it's all light and mirrors and lovely jewelry behind glass cases. But as Jay explains, he, JC and the absent third amigo Noah do not live like this.
Tom Melville 22:04
You mentioned that you're living pretty destitute you're not living in here this is quite a nice place.
Jaymin Sullivan 22:10
Yes, I mean the cafe probably makes it look like you know what he's pretty nice. But yeah, again there's just mum and dad's play sort of thing. The boys and I we have our own tin shack on the field I guess. Which is pretty pretty well how would you describe our living situation?
James Caruana 22:25
We live with a lot of pets we have a lot of pet mice or a pet flies or pet mosquitoes
John Hanscome 22:31
How do you deal with the heat?
James Caruana 22:33
I don't really know the last, no, the first year we our took a TV down into the mine to watch the footy Grand Final you know like we were just too hot it was like 40 degrees that day or something we just going god this is this is ridiculous but I don't know we go back around mid November we go back to the coast and then you know live on our spoils over there not really but we do go back and spend you know the good parts of summer.
Tom Melville 23:00
These guys are fine with the rough lifestyle, though. Or at least happy to tolerate it for the tantalising prospect of opal riches. They plan to expand into new territory, outside White Cliffs. Unexplored ground.
Jaymin Sullivan 23:12
So we're out here at least for you know the next five years you know at least sort of thing like we want to be definitely hitting the millions in the next year or two sort of thing I mean every year the goal is to just hit the million dollar finds but obviously for the first 2 to 3 years of any business you know that's the hardest part when you're growing your operation we came out here with $450 jackhammer he got started and this year so two and a half years later we've got over $100,000 worth of gear all paid for by the opal we found sort of thing and then you know by the end of the year we want to you know keep expanding keep growing and then eventually you know, get out there find new opal deposits even away from White Cliffs a little bit and you know, try and pioneer new opal fields.
Tom Melville 23:53
I can imagine that if it's rough out here in White Cliffs, it's gonna be a hell of a lot rougher out there.
Jaymin Sullivan 24:00
Yeah, so if we were to you know, get out there and explore which is you know, our ultimate goal at the moment, it would be a lot more rough living like we'd be camp style, pioneer lifestyle kind of thing just out there in the scrub. Pretty much 24-seven either mining or thinking about you know where you're gonna go the next day and dig and that sort of thing.
Tom Melville 24:19
That sort of sent a shiver of anxiety up my spine.
James Caruana 24:23
I reckon it's like the most exciting thing ever, that prospect that you could be the ones to find it and all it takes is a little bit of rough living.
Tom Melville 25:01
The guys are keen to show us their mine, which is on the oldest commercial opal field in Australia. You can see hundreds of abandoned mines, remnants of the opal rush of times past . From above, it's a honeycomb of craters in the white soil. Miners dug straight down, tossing the spoil up around the hole. Many have caved in over the decades so tea trees and scrub fill in the entrances. These past miners were looking for something different, and often overlooked stones which today are quite valuable. Jay tells me about someone picking up a discarded opal off the ground worth $10,000. A big find could be under the next shovel load of soil, which I guess is part of the addiction. Or it could be fools' gold. I see something glimmering in here.
Jaymin Sullivan 25:44
Yeah so that's just bits gypsum. So not quite the thing we're looking for. But you'll see lots of that throughout the mine. TYou see a little bit of a sparkle you think I found opal but unfortunately, it's just gypsum. I think they do mining for fertilizer and that sort of thing in other places, but just not in the quantities we find here.
James Caruana 26:04
In the beginning when you're learning to get your eye in it gets bloody annoying.
Tom Melville 26:08
It's almost pitch dark down here without torches, the ground is loose and every footstep sends up clouds of dust. We're wearing hard hats, a piece of kit JC tells me you only forget once. It is a labyrinth down here. They've got some impressive machinery -- a big digger worth thousands of dollars which scrapes out long slivers of rock face. It seems like a blunt instrument considering they're looking for such delicate material.
Jaymin Sullivan 26:32
Generally you will break onto the wall so you will break the first bit and then you'll stop and slow down and then dig it out with a bit more precision. So be using things like screwdrivers, you know and small digging tools to actually extract the opal once you find it. But we can dig for months at a time, even years at a time people will dig and find nothing of commercial value. It is a process where you do have to move a lot of dirt. So you're not going to worry too much about breaking the first little bit. Once you do break the first bit then you notice stop slow down and take your time with it.
Tom Melville 27:02
Further into the mine we come across someone else's tunnel -- Jay and JC reckon it's probably 50 or 60 years old. Whoever it was lacked a key tool for any opal miner: Luck.
Jaymin Sullivan 27:14
Where we've broken onto older working so we've come down the mine, there was you know obviously about this much done so with nearly foot worth of dirt between us and that other mine. And as we came down here on the other side, we were digging, and JC found about what five grand worth of vocal in between the wall. So the last miner was down here was a foot away from finding $5,000 worth of material. If they just gone that much further, they would have had it. That's the allure of open money it can be just that much further.
John Hanscome 27:44
Is there a risk that your opal fever will absolutely cook you the temptation's always there to jsut keep going.
Jaymin Sullivan 27:52
The temptation is always there to keep expanding, you could very well do that. And then you can make a full open mining empire I guess like he could get several drilling crews you to get several excavators and have a multimillion dollar operation. You could also find you know, no opal at the end of the day, and just go like bankrupt sort of thing. So you definitely want to find a balance and just want to find something that suits your lifestyle. If you're enjoying what you're doing, then that is your life. You know, like you are having a good time. You know, why would you stop if you're doing something you love?
Tom Melville 28:19
When I picture a treasure hunter I imagine a solitary, superstitious prospector. But for these guys their friendship has been a key part of their success. It's surprisingly welcoming here in this dark and dusty tunnel. These two are mates, and it shows.
Jaymin Sullivan 28:34
We're a really good team like we've been doing this now for over two and a half years. I don't think we've had really even a single fight or a single argument or like really anything. So we work really well together as a team. It is sometimes a solitary job. We do hear some you know really bad stories where people have partnered up and then you know opals gone missing, or you know, they'll get something they'll take it home and put it through the tumbler. And you know, maybe the material just wasn't that good, but it looked really good coming out and then one will think the other person's stole it or something like that. It is a lot about doing it with people you trust and you know, doing it with friends and you know, just having a good time. Like we don't take it too seriously. We like to have a lot of fun,
Tom Melville 29:12
But I'm not convinced they'll ever be able to say goodbye properly to their hunt for buried treasure. JC isn't convinced, either.
Tom Melville 29:19
Are you ever gonna be able to, you know, it seems like it's like a drug, I mean, you get your next big find, and then you're able to buy a bigger drill and move more dirt here, we're gonna get to that point where you're like, alright, we have now got the equipment that we need to start making money.
James Caruana 29:34
Now we'll just keep going up and up and up forever. We're gonna be 80 years old with these giant big insane machines like we can do it now.
Tom Melville 29:42
Would you be able to stay out here if it weren't for your mates do you reckon?
Jaymin Sullivan 29:45
Probably not. I mean, it's, it makes it so much easier to be out here with other young people you know, giving it a shot, especially you know if you're good friends. A lot of the town is just older people so it is primarily made up of retirees and then the occasional hobby miner apart from JC, Noah and I there's barely any other people our own age out here every now and then there's you know backpackers that work up in the underground motel. But you know, again with COVID lately, they've kind of all left so
James Caruana 30:11
There's no young miners just just us mining. And, you know, Jaymin's dad's like the next youngest person to us it would be cool to see a lot of more younger miners giving it a go, but I think you know, it's just too, too full on and there's no guarantee so people just don't you know, don't really throw risk of all for it.
Tom Melville 30:41
Good mates, Outback opal hunters Jaymin and JC speaking to John Handscombe and I in their White Cliffs opal mine. It's such a wonderful part of the country, if you ever find yourself in far western New South Wales make sure you stop past.
Tom Melville 31:07
That's it for this episode of Voice of Real Australia. Thanks for listening. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen. I'll be back in a couple of weeks. If you like the podcast please tell your friends and give us a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts. It really helps. If you'd like to share your story, email voice at aust community media dot com dot a-u... that's voice at aust "a-u-s-t" community media dot com dot a-u. Our Facebook page is Facebook dot com slash voice of real Australia. Follow me on Twitter @-Tom-Melville-1-2-4 Voice of Real Australia is recorded in the studios of the Newcastle Herald. It's produced by Laura Corrigan and me, your host, Tom Melville. Our intern is Ethan Hamilton. Special thanks this week go to Dion Georgopoulos and Doug Dingwall. Our editors are Gayle Tomlinson and Chad Watson. This is an ACM podcast.