Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Baulkamaugh community has ties that bind

Downtown Baulkamaugh is just a hall, Scout hall and tennis courts on a rural road north-west of Numurkah.

GEOFF ADAMS January 7, 2014 4:03am

Alison Cook, left, and Barbara Dealy at Baulkamaugh hall.


Downtown Baulkamaugh is just a hall, Scout hall and tennis courts on a rural road north-west of Numurkah.

But there are invisible relationships that bind the community together in ways towns and cities could never develop.

Rural living provides connections urban people might refer to as a ‘‘network’’, but they were networking at Baulkamaugh well before it became a fashionable description.

The Baulkamaugh CWA was established in 1981 and treasurer Barbara Dealy said the branch provided friendship, support and contact with a diversity of people she may not have otherwise met.

‘‘It provides a connection with your neighbours,’’ Barbara said.

Alison Cook has held a number of leadership positions with Baulkamaugh CWA, which started evening meetings because most of the nearby rural branches met during the day.

They have a number of members who live in Numurkah and most of their meetings are now held in the town.

Alison came to Baulkamaugh in 1959 as a herd tester. She wasn’t the first female herd tester in Victoria, but the first farm she called at refused to accept her because of her gender.

‘‘I was 21 and I wanted to work in the country,’’ she said.

Barbara has also supported the tennis club, and sent her three sons to Scouts.

Farmers Jason Andrew and Stu Hodge were in Scouts when they grew up and are now Scout leaders for 1st Baulkamaugh Scouts, which has been running in Baulkamaugh since 1958.

They still run a meeting every week during the school term with the support of four registered leaders and parent helpers. Some of their Scouts come from Numurkah.

‘‘We’ve got 18 if they all come, but we have about 10 on most nights,’’ Stu said.

‘‘There is a real sense of community at Balkamaugh.

‘‘Our heritage means a lot to us. I had a great time in Scouts and I’m keen to see more kids involved.’’

Patrol leader Laura Hodge, 14, enjoys the outdoors and camping with Scouts and has been a part of the group since she was seven.

Judi Stedman, 61, has been involved with Scouting for 30 years and for 23 of those she has volunteered at Baulkamaugh where she is still a Cub leader.

‘‘I’ve had a man bring his son in to join the Cubs and I realised that the father used to be one of our Cubs,’’ Judi recalled.

‘‘It makes me feel old but it’s good to know they must have enjoyed it enough to want bring their own kids back.’’

Her husband Jim has been with Scouts since 1993 and after filling many roles now serves as group leader.

The community still supports a tennis club but it can only field two senior teams and is struggling to field juniors.

Barbara Dealy, who has been playing for 38 years, recalled the days when the club had teams in many different grades and regularly ran tournaments.

Volunteers helped build the Fuzzard Rd Scout hall, tennis courts and public hall, and fundraising helps keep the assets well maintained.

But the district still faces the population drift into towns.

Baulkamaugh resident Louis Cook said in 1957 on a local farm, 47 cows could provide a comfortable living for a family of five.

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