I suddenly realised just how long it had been since my last run around the New England blogging scene, fifteen months! I have been monitoring, but not reporting.
In Clarence Valley Council rating by the numbers, North Coast Voices had an interesting discussion on the rate setting process and especially the use of the index of relative socio-economic disadvantage as one factor in rate setting. The piece includes a link to the council minutes, as well as the ABS statistical series presenting the latest indices.
Reading the Council minutes, I was struck by just how complex the rate setting process can be in largish geographical areas with their variety in local conditions. I was also struck by the apparent decline in land values within the Council area. The latest Valuer General valuations placed a value of $4.2 billion on rateable land, down from $4.8 billion three years before. That's a fall of 12 per cent.
North Coast Voices continues its environmental campaigning, including Screenshot from Metgasco Limited proposed unconventional gas drill site at Bentley, NSW. For those not familiar with the intensity of on-ground feeling, click through the link to the story in the Northern Rivers Echo.
Meanwhile, on Northern Rivers Geology, Rod Holland has put together a consolidated List of Natural Gas Posts. These provide a factual geological analysis of the different types of gas and gas extraction.
Up the mountain road from the Clarence, last year saw the death of one of Denis Wright, one of New England's best known bloggers. The last post on My Unwelcome Stranger carries Denis' final message, as well as the eulogy by friend and colleague David Kent. Denis really was a remarkable man.
Staying in Armidale, Janene Carey's Turkish Delights describes a recent trip to Turkey. Janene is a very good writer and a fellow board member of the New England Writers' Center. On Saturday, I had coffee with her in the Mall before my return to Sydney. We chatted about writing, including the difficulty of actually making a living from the craft. I described the overall trip in a post on my personal blog, A fleeting visit to Armidale.
Still in Armidale, Paul Barratt's On final for Armidale describes his flight into town. Paul has been on something of a nostalgia trip recently (A day trip to Dangar Falls, Those were the days). A bit dangerous from my viewpoint because of our shared links.
Some of my favourite New England photo blogs have gone into extended recess. That's a pity, because they were an invaluable source of ideas and inspiration. However, Julia's Newcastle Photo continues, again with an environmental theme.
Moving back to the Northern Rivers, Jan's A Tapestry of Life continues to give, as she says, "glimpses of an active, contented life in country Australia." That's true!
Moving to the far west and back to writing, Nicole Alexander (blog here) was born and raised on New England's northwest plains. She calls it NSW, but I don't know that place! Her family property is located north-west of Moree near the Queensland border. Her new book, Sunset Ridge, is now out.
New England has a remarkable number of writers. Of course, the questions of just who is a New England writer or what New England writing is are open questions.
I must stop here. I am out of time!