Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Train; the Conference; and the Flood

Last week I set off on the train down to Wagga Wagga to attend my first conference - the annual conference for the Australia & New Zealand History of Education Society (ANZHES). There is something lovely about long train trips - good views, knitting, books. I found an old copy of a UK Vogue at the newsagent at the Station, and read it practically cover to cover. It has some magnificent shoots that I will scan and share later this week.
 Some more picturesque country-side... a cup of train-coffee (delightful in its own icky way), and then...
Floods. I had read the news about flooding in Wagga, but the conference organiser had said it was all ok. I took this to mean the flooding wasn't that serious - WRONG! The trees in the photo above are normally at the edge of the river.
Heaps of poor farmers who has struggled through years of drought are now flooded. We passed so many barns and fields that are ruined.

The area the conference was held in was ok the day we arrived, but a couple of days in, it started to rain again. 
At the top of this photo is the river and the middle where the street signs are is the street outside the hotel. Luckily, it didn't get any deeper than this, and those big brick walls protected us. However, those trees that blew over cut off the power and the last 24 hours of the conference we went with no power. It seems rather fitting for an historical conference to have a dinner lit by candle light, and cooked on gas.

Luckily I gave my paper on the first day, with power and a PowerPoint presentation! I think it went well! I am working on writing it up now.

 The place we stayed is called the Riverine Club. It was the first school house in Wagga, built in 1881. It was later a gentleman's club with accommodation added. The building today is preserved in the state it was in the 1930s. The furniture is all original, the art is original prints and much of the crockery bears the original club insignia. It was pretty stunning to wander around this 19th century building by candle light and imagine what it would have been like a century ago.
 Most of the rooms opened out onto this veranda - with big open windows. When the storm came I was sitting on one of these chairs reading, and suddenly got splashed as the rain poured in.
I adore details like this. It is a vent on the outside of the old court house. How wonderful to take such delight in casting something so decorative? Practical and beautiful. 

Overall the conference went really well. Everyone I met was incredibly warm and generous. There were some really interesting talks- some really fascinating research! I've come back with new ideas and new energy. Now I just need to get writing!!

2 comments:

  1. oh wow. that's not fun. I grew up in a flood zone and was so used to these but I know how horrible they can be (I was in a flood that killed 3 people once).

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  2. i wasn't quite sure the best way to contact you but i wanted to tell you thank you for your very kind comments on my blog!

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Go on then!