On Monday we gathered around the box to watch the ABC program 'Back Roads' that was purportedly a celebration of remote Australian communities. There were some aspects that were slightly interesting but overall it was unbalanced and a traditional media beat up.
If it was a journey along the Clarence River as a 'road' then it should've began with the kayakers in Old Bonalbo not Yugilbar which is 50 miles downstream!
The Yugilbar Cattle Sale segment was okay but it would've been more interesting and worthy to note that the first white owners, Edward and Fred Ogilvie, were squatter barons who stole the land. Perhaps a visit the adjacent Aboriginal community of Baryugil to hear about their successes and dreaming stories about the river would've met the brief of remote communities. What about nearby Collum Collum Cattle Station, which was once part of Yugilbar, and now run by an Aboriginal Co-operative?
However the segment on Grafton and South Grafton was a disgrace. My picture today is a rebut that the river divides, the river unites us all. The river is the lifeblood and reason that all the communities exist. The whole analogy of Grafton as the 'haves' and South Grafton as the 'have nots' was simplistic journalism and simply untrue. To drive around South and film a housing commission street and some old houses was the sort of gutter journalism that you expect from A Current Affair not an ABC documentary.
There is always a silver lining and it has galvanised the whole community and has caused me to reflect on what a vibrant community South Grafton is; Skinner St has nearly every shop filled and none of them are chain stores, all are family businesses which support the local community.
I know that 'outrage' has become much more prevalent in these days of social media journalism but the Grafton and South Grafton communities were slandered by the Back Roads program and deserve an apology.