We have just returned from the Atherton Tablelands where we had a family reunion. However, it was more than a family reunion; it was my sister Christine’s 60th Birthday celebration. There were 12 of us staying in my sister and husband’s home, a farm (near Malanda). My mother and her husband, both 88 years, travelled up from Sydney. On the two hour drive from Cairns to Malanda we enjoyed the scenery that can only be found in the tropics. While our trip took the entire day to get us to our destination it only seemed like the blink of an eye and we were in Tropical North Queensland. The traditional owners of the area where we stayed are the Ngadgon-ji people.
The area around Malanda (population 1,700) is not unlike where I live in Maleny (population 2,700), both located in the hills. Malanda is 732mtrs above sea level, while Maleny is only 450mtrs. Malanda has the Malanda Falls; near Maleny are the Mapleton Falls. Both areas have fully operational dairy farms, gourmet cheese factories and other attractions of a small country region.
One of Malanda’s claims to fame is that it has the oldest continually operating country picture theatre in Australia. On our last visit we enjoyed watching the movies while sitting in canvas seats. At the time it reminded me of my childhood when my sister Susan and I would go to the pictures on a Saturday afternoon in Newtown, Toowoomba. We had six pence for the admission fee and six pence to spend.
Our time together at the farm was spent exploring the surroundings, eating, drinking, swimming and laughing. It is great when a family can come together when we all live in different places and have different commitments. Sitting around the wood fire on the deck on a cool evening was great. There were no neighbours to worry about as we chatted and laughed until the early hours all the while enjoying the sounds of the country, the illumination of the 25mtr pool and an array of stars in a darkened sky. Life is good in the country.
However, it does not have to stop there; we can do it all again next year at another location when another sister turns 60 years old. Let the good times roll!
Please note: Photo’s courtesy of BJ