Ravensthorpe AMOK Island
I’ve lived in Ravensthorpe for four and a half years. I was born in Wagga-Wagga, New South Wales. My Dad was in the Air Force, so I travelled around a fair bit when I was a kid. My mate owns the pub here, and also owned a pub in near where I used to live in Wallaroo. I came over to visit, I’d just turned forty and I was just going to stay for a few months, but I haven’t really left since. I work at the Ravy Country Kitchen, cooking and making coffee. Originally I was a geotechnician. I did that for ten years, and before that, I was a concrete form worker.
I live a pretty simple life. Monday to Saturdays I’m busy working at the Country Kitchen. I usually go to the pub for a few beers and socialise there. Good laughs there. Everyone’s friendly. Living here might be harder if you had a family, with the distance it is from everywhere. If you need to go to the dentist or something like that, the closest one is in Esperance. But I’ve got everything I need. Shop, pub, somewhere to sleep, somewhere to work; I’m all good.
Since the mine reopened out here two and a half years ago, it’s brought a lot more people to town. There used to be a lot of empty houses here, but now you can’t get an empty house. You’d be lucky to find one to rent. There are a lot of fly-in fly-out workers, but they prefer to employ locals. So there are a lot of local blokes out there. The main street’s changed, they fixed it all up when the silos were painted. They have a Country Carnival now with a street parade which gets better every year. When Ravensthorpe was flooded in last year, that was pretty interesting. My mate and I were sitting in the pub on a Saturday afternoon, and my mate goes “come and see the water coming over the road down at Phillips River.” We went down the road and I couldn’t believe it: it was covering sixty to seventy metres of road, and the bridge had been washed away down the river! It made life pretty hard here for about a week and a half. You couldn’t get in or get out of town. We didn’t close up shop at the Country Kitchen, but it was the worst takings we’d ever had. We had no through-traffic, no-one stopping here. I think they had to get milk flown in for the IGA. The town had a bit of damage, and a lot farmers had a lot of damage as well. They’d just finished laying pavers on the main street, and a couple days later the rain came. All those new pavers buckled. But in a way it was good, our little community came together, people put in, helped out where they could.
We get a lot of rain, but this year we’ve had no rain, so a few of the farmers are struggling around here, but I’m sure they’ll get through. Wildflowers might be a bit late this year, I think. I couldn’t go back to live in the city now, I like the easy lifestyle. It’s not flat-out, it’s a nice and relaxed pace. No-one’s in a rush, everyone stops to say g’day and things like that. The people here are really good and friendly, everyone helps you out. You’ve got plenty of support. You go to the footy on the weekends and the whole community comes together, there’s cold beer in the pub and Hopetoun is half an hour away if you want to go to the beach. I’ve met lots of really good people here, haven’t met any bad people yet.