After my crazy first week in Bathurst I didn’t think that my next week could be anymore full on, how wrong I was. On the Monday, after eating the best ice cream of my life (hazelnut chocolate at Anne’s ice cream parlour) I attended a youth council working party meeting where we discussed upcoming events, they have all planned as a group. I also questioned the group and Youth Mayor on their role in the community and had discussions following on from this. Later on, in the day I also went on the local 2BS radio station where I discussed being in Bathurst and my thoughts so far.
Tuesday was a very interesting day, I helped the Business Chamber host their BX Business talks an then attended it myself. It was a very insightful day learning from a social media sociologist and business futurist and was great to see so many local Bathurst businesses attend too. I then visited the mental health charity Headspace in Bathurst and found out all about the amazing work they do that is so vital to the young people in the area. Following this I visited the Reliance Bank start-up Upstairs facility where I learnt how the facility helps to support new business and enterprises, and how the internet café is available to all of Bathurst for free proving access to technology a, Wi-Fi and services. – which is a real asset to the community.
On Wednesday the Duke and Duchess of Sussex went to nearby Dubbo, so mayor Graeme and I set off to try and catch a glimpse. Despite the thunder and lightning I managed to see Harry’s wonderful speech from less than 20 metres away and was right on the barrier when they drove past – a success! Graeme and I later attended a council meeting where during the Public Questions time I spoke about my work in Bathurst so far and gave thanks to everyone supporting me, it was also a good opportunity to hear from local people the changes they wish to see occur in Bathurst.
On the 18th I headed to do my skydive! This was the most amazing experience and the weather turned out perfect for it, enabling me to see for miles the farmland and cityscapes. I even got too steer the parachute and taken us through a cloud, I really recommend this to everyone and I will certainly be doing it again further up the East Coast soon! The rest of the day was left to seeing Sydney, driving over the Harbour Bridge and exploring Manly.
Thursday was another adrenaline filled day as I went to the Blue Mountains, getting to see the Three Sisters and other famous sites. Scenic World is perhaps the best way to see the Blue Mountains and I did so by going on Australia’s highest cable car, with a glass bottom overlooking the canopy and travelling on the worlds steepest train! In the evening I attended lots of events, including the Mayoral Reception held at the Motor Museum, the public cool Climate Wine Tasting, and a performance by L-Fresh the lion with the Mitchell Chamber orchestra. It’s fair to say, Thursday was a manic day!
On Friday, I maintained my adrenaline rush by participating in my first ever 5km Park Run! Which certainly wasn’t easy, but it was fun, and I can definitely say I will be doing the Cirencester runs when I’m home! That being said, I am having way too much fun in Bathurst to think of coming home yet!
My final week in Bathurst involved lots of travel to events and catching up with locals. On Tuesday I visited Graham Russel’s cattle farm to assist with inoculations and weighing of the cows, with a visit from the Western Advocate too. It was a real learning experience and was great to experience rural farm life – it’s not easy!
On Wednesday I travelled into Sydney and explored Darling Harbour and China town in the evening. I was in Sydney for the Invictus Games for the athletics on Thursday, which truly were spectacular. It was amazing to see so many heroes surpass their own expectations, pushing past any mental and physical limitations and for the crowd to support them in such an engaged and supportive manner. I was so fortunate to attend the games and it truly was a marvel to see, and I really encourage everyone to try to attend the games in next year’s location.
On Friday I had a jam-packed day of catching up with people. I visited Tremains Mill to see the great work that Steven Birrell is doing to restore the mill and the plans for what the whole site will be developed into in future; which I think will serve as a real asset to Bathurst. I then caught up with friends over ice cream and enjoyed the sunshine in the park. Later in the evening was the Business Chamber’s Business Awards, which was a lovely event recognising local business and the hard work that they and their employees do to provide the best services to Bathurst. It was brilliant to be able to support so many deserving winners.
At the weekend I did my second park run, even beating my previous time! We then brunched and headed out into the hills for camping with friends. Despite it being very windy it was a wonderful night, aided by marshmallows, beers and great people. – A perfect way to round off my time in Bathurst. I really have had the best time in Bathurst and I cannot thank everyone enough for all their support and the memories made.
My time in Bathurst has unfortunately come to an end and so I am writing my final bog post to reflect on the three weeks. My time in Bathurst really has been the best few weeks of my life, I have made life long friends and memories that I will never forget.
When I started my trip to Australia I was undoubtedly nervous about what to expect from Bathurst and was apprehensive to say the least. Within a matter of days I fell for the city and from then on I really have had the best time. I have been so fortunate to explore so much of the beautiful surrounding area, meet so many interesting people and participate in lots of fantastic local events.
I can see so much potential for the friendship initiative in the future and for Cirencester and Bathurst to develop a link so much more than just historical. Through youth exchanges and communications between both councils and business chambers this is certainly possible. Below is an extract from my final post on the friendship’s Facebook page as it’s very difficult to summarise coherently how much the project has meant to me.
‘It has been such a privilege to have been given this opportunity and one which I am so thankful for. I have made the most amazing memories and been welcomed by beautiful, caring people. I know for sure that I will come back to Bathurst during my trip around Australia as both the place and people have truly stolen a little piece of my heart.’
Thank you to everyone that managed to make this opportunity a reality and that shaped it into the best three weeks. Thank you to both councils and the CCDT for your continuous support both before and during the project and especially to my hosts Aimee and Adam for welcoming me into your home and lives.