What do you hope to achieve through Galah?
I want GALAH to be a media platform for regional Australia. Right now it’s a printed magazine (three times a year) and soon (ish) it will also be home to a number of different podcasts.
So often life in regional Australia is portrayed through a lens of disadvantage. Droughts, fires, floods, lack of services, but my own experience of living out here has been one of advantage .. it’s been the making of me.
When I first moved out here, I was scared it would be the end of my journalism career (I was a reporter with The Australian) and the end of my social life (our closest town is an hour away. It has 4000 people in it). I thought it could be good for my young family, but definitely bad for me. Those fears were completely unfounded. This rural life has surprised and delighted me in equal measure.
I think my original ignorance and almost fear of the bush speaks to something wider in Australia, where 85 percent of us live within 50km of the coast. We are so urbanised and that connection between the city and the country, which was once so strong, has eroded. And without connection and understanding, caricatures like stupid/backwards country people and elite/snobby city people thrive. My ill-informed, preconceived ideas about country communities are not uncommon.
But everywhere I look in rural Australia, I see smart, modern, innovative people. To survive, you have to be. I see competent people living lives with great dignity. I see strong, caring communities.
Diversity has also taken on a more immediate meaning for me. In a small town, you are all in it together. You all shop at the same supermarket. You know almost everyone by name. And even if you don't agree with someone's views, you cannot help but see them as a fellow human because there they are, putting a bag of apples in their supermarket trolley. When I lived in Sydney, there was very much more of a birds-of-a-feather cultural life. You'd congregate with people with similar socio-demographics. Even though the city as a whole was very diverse, I didn't actually brush up against much diversity in my daily life. So, somewhat counter-intuitively, my small-town rural life has done a lot to teach me about the importance of a diverse cultural, racial, socio-economic community. We are all doing the best we can. We all have a right to be here. We are all humans.
As these stereotypes about rural life fell apart one by one in my mind, I was motivated to start a publication that showed rural life through the lens of advantage, rather than one of disadvantage. I wanted to shine a light on modern, innovative, diverse and resilient country life. I wanted to build a bridge between the country and the city. And I wanted it to be incredibly beautiful, because after all beauty is a unifying force.