Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Music to her ears

Story Kellie Penfold
Photos Angus McGeoch

ImageHelen Dickie's motivating force in life is daytime television. If she ever finds herself watching, she knows she's got too much time on her hands.

For the past 30 years there hasn't been too much lounge-sitting for the woman who landed in Berrigan, southern NSW as a young farmer's wife - having lived in Melbourne as a speech and drama teacher - then becoming a mother of four and the "secretary, chairman and organiser of everything".

What started out as a diversion from potential boredom has turned into a passion for helping country people and their communities - through both politics and her love of the theatre and music.

NSW president of the National Party for four years, she has been the party's federal president for the past two years, as well as serving on numerous boards and committees. At the same time her musical career has blossomed. The woman who admits she can barely play the spoons has managed the meteoric rise of the popular bush band,

The Bushdrovers, which has just released its second CD and has performed around Australia and overseas. "Oh, and I've just taken on directing and producing three plays for three little local schools. The kids love it and the whole town gets so excited. How can I say no?" she asks from her kitchen after putting down the final notes for a local Carols by Candlelight which she produces via mobile telephone from various towns and cities.

"This year is the federal election and it will be pretty busy, but being involved in things locally keeps me in touch with what is happening in my community," she says.

Helen Dickie's community, Berrigan (pop. 1000) motivates her politically. She can see the direct impact of declining services, falling population and tough times for many farmers. She has always been a strong advocate for better roads, cheaper fuel, improved telecommunications, retaining medical services and enchanced education opportunities. Story end

Full story: Issue 17, June/July 2001

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