Ahh Charters Towers, the Gold City. It’s been my home away from home for the past 5 months. With it being an incredibly small town with nothing to do except drink at the pub, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot about yourself and how you handle different situations. Or at least I did anyway. Being a lover of cities, I’m not a fan of everyone knowing everyone. I’m comfortable being in my own bubble, having my own small circle of friends and living my own life. Otherwise things leads to gossip, rumours and never being able to do anything without someone questioning you. Growing up in a town with all of the above, I was hoping to escape that. However, in Charters Towers, everyone does know everyone and everyone’s business.
Admittedly, it’s not all been sunshine and rainbows. I’m not here to rant or rage so I’ll spare you the details, and instead focus on the glorious sunshine and endless rainbows of my time in The World.
Going way back to the beginning of April, I arrived back at the pub where I previously worked greeted by excited yet surprised faces. Nobody knew or had heard I was coming back (apart from the bosses obviously). The first sentence I was greeted with was “get that suitcase away, and let’s have a drink.” (Summing up Australian culture perfectly I would say).
Never having poured a beer in my life and not even being a big beer drinker anyway (before here that is), I had no idea what I was doing. At first the challenge looked intimidating and it seemed like it was taking me weeks to get the hang of it. I learned the hard way by being thrown into the deep end, but I got there in the end. Once I got into my own wee routine it became second nature and I was loving it. I came out of my shell and before I knew it I was giving the locals as much cheek as they were giving me. By the end of it I honestly felt like family… some would say ‘part of the furniture’ is a more accurate representation but I’ll go with my take on things. It makes me feel a little more valued okay?
Anyone who knows me, knows I love cracking out the costumes for a good themed doo. After all, it’s an excuse to get ridiculously dressed up without anyone having the right to judge you. If I was being completely honest, the only reason I was looking forward to State of Origin so much was to get kitted out: supporting QLD (obviously) with a maroon t-shirt, lipstick AND nails. (I will shamelessly admit to using it as an excuse to buy a new shade of lipstick and nail polish).
Yes, I am fully aware of what a pathetic excuse for a backpacker I am…
“Being a small town, you’ve got to make your own fun.”
On the way into Townsville one day, we took a detour to the wee town (‘town’ might be pushing it) of Mingela. The only pub in Mingela looks run down, pretty much closed, and bit filthy. But, the owners like to keep it that way as apparently it’s part of it’s “heritage.”
I’ve been told many stories about what the area used to look like during the Gold Rush and I still find it hard to believe that it once was such a busy and lively place. Believe it or not, Charters Towers used to be home to 30,000 miners during the Gold Rush. Now, it has a tiny population of just over 8,000. Roughly the same size as my home town, but definitely non-comparable in other aspects.
All in all, it’s been a pleasure getting to know the little town of Charters Towers and all it’s lovely people. I will never forget my time here.
No more nights at the infamous Tavern or banter with my favourite regulars day in day out. Goodbyes have never been my strong point, but saying goodbye to my Australian family was so much harder than I imagined. At 4am on the phone to my mum I was an absolute mess, tears ruining my cup of tea. It was the realisation that I’ll probably never see any of my new friends again, the people I’d grown so close to over the past 5 months. Flying across the world to Australia was such a daunting move but being welcomed so warmly makes the relationships I’ve built here all the more special. I’m so grateful to the people who didn’t treat me like a wee Scottish lass, and instead took me in as one of their own. It’s so strange to think that I came here without knowing a soul, only on the basis of getting a job. And now, just 5 months later, I’ve got the best Aussie Family that I can go home to anytime. I’ve loved meeting new people and making new friends by being completely 100% myself. Having people accept you because of that, without knowing any of your past is a beautiful thing. Starting afresh has been the best and most rewarding thing I could have done.
“Family isn’t always blood.”
There’s nothing quite more rewarding than feeling yourself becoming a stronger person.
Thanks for everything, Charters!