There’s something special about visiting (and living in) a small Australian town. Tight-knit communities with long, proud histories and eccentricities that make each town unique. To celebrate what it means to visit, live and work in the bush, the team here at Australian Farmers has compiled our very favourite parts of our bush towns and villages.
1. Silo art
A relatively new phenomena, silo art is the beatification process of grain silos so prominent in many towns throughout Australia’s grainbelt. Often the artwork reflects an important aspect or person in the community. A great example is the ‘She’s Apples’ artwork on the Dunedoo silos in Western NSW, which depicts former Dunedoo local and racing legend Hugh Bowman winning the Melbourne Cup with champion racehorse, Winx. The the silo art concept has sky-rocketed in popularity, so much so, a dedicated silo art trail has been established for art and travel enthusiasts alike to map out trips exclusively on the promise they’ll get a glimpse of silo art.
2. A themed festival
Rural Australia sure knows how to host a party. In normal times, on any given weekend, there’s a town hosting its flagship event, whether it be the Outback Festival, the Tamworth Country Music Festival, the Corryong Man From Snowy River Festival or Broken Hill’s Broken Heel Festival! Unfortunately due to the effects and restrictions of the current COVID-19 pandemic, many events have been unable to go ahead – some for up to two years. It’s a huge blow to communities, whose economies and identities are so closely linked to these iconic celebrations.
3. The ‘best bakery’
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a small town in possession of a bakery must have had that very bakery voted as the ‘best’ at some point in time. Even if they are the only bakery in town. Extra points if the neighbouring town also has the best bakery. Nonetheless, the Australian Farmers team are yet to find a rural bakery they didn’t agree was the best.
See also: the best butcher.
4. Entrance sign or town mascot
What makes a great town? An even better entrance sign. Or even a town mascot. Many regional and remote towns across Australia have awe-inspiring entrance signs that reflect the town’s history or identity. Like this one in Cobar, in far-western NSW:
Some towns take that a step further, creating their own mascot like the Dog on the Tuckerbox in Gundagai or Nyngan’s Big Bogan in far-western NSW. It’s a fun way to celebrate the town and is a massive hit with tourists!
5. Telstra Payphone
Payphones have been a part of the Australian bush landscape since the 1880s and despite the introduction of mobile phones, they are still very much apart of our communities. The humble payphone endures as a fixed piece of iconography in the regional, rural and remote landscape. It can be assured, whether or not someone has recently used the town payphone, they can definitely tell you where it is located and exactly how to get there. To celebrate regional connectivity, Telstra have this week made their public payphones free for calls around Australia, including local, national and calls to mobiles!