Host: Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association
Written by Michelle Eulenstein
Save the date for the 2018 Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Federal Conference to be held in Canberra, August 1-2. This promises to be a great conference! Find all information at this link: https://www.icpaconferenceaust.com/ #ICPAconf18
Michelle Eulenstein grew up on Magnetic Island in Far North QLD and fell in love with a farmer at the Goondiwindi Picnic Races. Phill, Michelle and their two children live on the family farm “Boola” in Northern NSW where they farm grain alongside Phill’s parents. Michelle is the secretary of the Moree Branch of ICPA.
Three hundred and twenty people hit Tulloona in a cloud of dust in May. Flashes of colour sped down the Limebon Road and parked in the paddock across from our small school signalling their arrival with a selection of quirky horn sounds. The Variety Bashers had arrived!
Colourful array of Variety Bash cars all decorated with an individual style.
The Tulloona Public School is one of those small schools that was plonked down in a seemingly random location in the middle of farmland. Not quite in the middle of nowhere though; we are 65 km south-west of Goondiwindi just off the Newell Highway among the box trees and where the population of flies would surpass that of people in any major city! Apparently it’s the trees that attract them. Our eleven students know who is driving which tractor past the school, they share the fence with a herd of cattle and the kangaroos have marked our oval as theirs until the rain arrives.
Variety Bash at Tulloona Public School.
“What is that stuff that goes ‘poof’ when you hit it and settles all over everything?” One basher asked ICPA Moree Branch life member, Mrs Woods. “That would be bulldust,” she replied. “You don’t even see the potholes until you’re in them!” he explained. “Yes…we know.” Meanwhile another basher is in the bathroom wiping down her handbag with a wet paper towel to get rid of the dust. Little does she know what lies ahead on their next leg along Croppa Creek’s County Boundary Road…you can’t help but giggle with amusement at their city innocence!
With only seven families to cater for all our visitors it is times like this when we rely on the generosity of the larger Tulloona family; neighbours, past students, families and teachers. Many of these amazing people are unsurprisingly also past and current members of the Isolated Children and Parents Association (ICPA). Mrs Woods had rung Mrs Bardsely the week before and shared the news of the expected visitors to Tulloona. Mrs Bardsley said “right I’m turning on my oven, what do you need?”
The Variety Bashers were delighted with all the homebaked goods and cold meat with salad for lunch and the kids were beside themselves with excitement at the costumes, decorated cars and bags of goodies. To top it all off one of the bashers landed his helicopter in the paddock and I was the lucky winner of the hat draw! I took my three year old son up with me and we saw the spectacular vastness that make up the Moree Plains. We flew over the last row of cotton being harvested in one paddock, cattle tracks leading to a trough like rays of the sun in another and finally flew across the school with all the colourful cars dotted in the paddock like confetti.
Yes, that’s a chopper on our oval!
It will be a day none of us will ever forget as it brought so much excitement and joy to our tiny community. For me though, the drop everything kind of willingness to help from our community was the highlight.
Preschooler meets Iron Man.
Presentation of very generous donations from the Variety Bash.
Lego Man giving hi-fives as he walks through the gate.
Two young men meeting their Star Wars heroes.