Saturday, 9 April 2016

Community Connections and the Beauty of Small Towns

The richness of community connections nourishes my sense of belonging to place. It is these connections and sense of identity, I think, that makes this little town thrive. Small intact local towns are gold. 

Every time I venture into Maleny, my local town, I feel uplifted by the interactions - the conversations, the smiles, the help offered, even the way I can purchase things I need from locally owned stores. 

This morning I met for morning coffee with Rhonda Hetzel, local bestselling author and award-winning blogger, who last year graciously offered to mentor me as a writer and blogger. With her support and encouragement I have felt brave enough to begin writing regularly. I am so very thankful to her for taking me under her wing.  Rhonda's blog about living simply, Down to Earth, is read across the globe and just clicked over 20 million pageviews. Rhonda has just returned from a road trip to launch her new book, The Simple Home. It's in the window at Rosettas Bookshop in town. It was just so lovely to catch up with her, to share adventures and future plans.

with Rhonda Hetzel for morning tea in Maleny

After meeting with Rhonda, I went in search of presents for my 3 year old son - his birthday is this Saturday. In the newly renovated and expanded Endeavour Charity Store was the best little wooden cooker set. Perfect. Also I found a wicker picnic basket for us to go on outings together to the river. As unbirthday presents for the older two children, I found some amazing books in one of the second hand book stores. Finally I nipped around to the little wood store at the back of town to get a piece of exterior board. We have painted this with blackboard paint and will screw to the side of the house for Monty to draw on, write and create.  It is so refreshing not having to resort to the major shopping centres. 

To end my very enjoyable morning in town, I ventured into the Maleny Village Artisan Food Market for a bite to eat. I was looking in particular for my friends' brand new sushi stall.  Kentaro and Rovielle are just opening and are serving delicious sushi. I can personally recommend the vegetarian one.

I met Rovielle and Kentaro two years ago when they came to Crystal Waters to do a permaculture course. They haven't really left! Since then they've been WWOOFing and housesitting - now they've settled in a bit more permanently with their own place and their new enterprise in Maleny. They are also leasing a little piece of land at Crystal Waters to grow authentic Japanese flavours for their sushi.  I wish them all the very best.

Loaded up with my mind abuzz with ideas, the stomach nourished with good food, presents for the kids, I headed back down into the valley to Crystal Waters stopping along the way at Jim's organic farm to stock up on some extra fruit and veg to supplement produce from my garden.

It was indeed a good morning in my local town!


  1. It sounds like a wonderful morning.
    I love visiting Maleny and each time I drive up there I think to myself "why don't I do this more often?"
    Rhonda's Down To Earth blog has been a favourite of mine for years now. She makes such good sense, a lovely read.

  2. I was in Maleny this past week too, Morag. When I first moved to Brisbane from my childhood home in Far North Qld, I was so homesick. A friend took me then up to Maleny, to the rolling green hills and the cows, to make me feel better. I loved it then and I love it still.

    We came to visit friends and had a lovely afternoon with them at their place. I envy them their rich red earth and expanse of ground...and their citrus trees! My son and I went for a leisurely walk through the forest at Mary Cairncross park where he was most excited to see a pademelon and a giant earth worm! We stopped in at the co-op for some bulk oats and flour too.

    You are so lucky to live near this beautiful village!

  3. What a glorious day, and how wonderful to be part of a little town. Have a great weekend and happy birthday to your son.

  4. As usual, I had a lovely time with you, Morag. You're a good friend. Happy birthday Monty! xx

  5. How lovely that you and Rhonda could meet up. I live on the edge of a very small town too (we've been in this area since the 1850's) and it really is a very special thing. I continue to enjoy reading your blog Morag, it is wonderful!