Beau magazine (Issue 3) 2019

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CONTENTS Issue 3, March 2019


On the cover 15

“It’s no joke being a bloke”

Inside 3 Welcome 8

Flipped Out

1 0 They don’t come much tougher than a shearer 1 5 It’s a man’s world — under certain rules


1 7 The tools of the trade

Contact us beau editor Lachlan Durling

beau advertising Stuart Addicott

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Photography: Cath Grey, Luke Hemer, Tarynn Walker, Alicia McInnes Editorial design: Jacqui Maskell, Brendan Cain Advertising design: Brendan Cain, Bella Considine, Tanya Main Words: Lachlan Durling, Sophie Baldwin, Charmayne Allison, Andrew Johnston



o 2019 and the third edition of Beau magazine.

Or thanks for reading, it really depends on whether you flip through this for the highlight reel and then go back to read the stories that got your interest, or whether you’re sitting down with the intent of reading this cover to cover.

And this time I have a legitimate headshot, rather than the postage-stamp sized photo down in the corner, hurrah! But if the experience of standing in front of the camera with our photographer telling me to ‘act natural’ and ‘be more relaxed’ has taught me one thing, it’s that I’m terrible at taking artistic direction. While I’m usually the first person to smile like an idiot at anything remotely funny, point a camera at me and I just can’t seem to emulate it. Of course it doesn’t help that I was crouching to be at eye level with our


photographer for about 10 minutes — it’s the closest thing to gym work I’ve ever experienced.

And proving again that it’s who you know, shearer Franky Atkinson who knuckled down at 15 years old and hasn’t looked back.

But nevertheless, I applaud our photographer Cath for dealing with me throughout the whole thing.

It was a decision that ultimately changed his life trajectory for the better.

It’s this experience that’s shown me what it’s like on the other side of the camera and I have to say, our subjects in every magazine do a sterling job.

Lachlan Durling

And while we’re on the topic of our interviewees, I’m going to do a not so smooth segue into talking about them, because I’ll find a way to deal with my first world problems. We have our regular columnist Flip Evans back for his third piece, talking about mates and mateship. And the stories of this magazine prove his point — it’s not what you know but who you know, and who you can share it with. For this issue we spoke with Nick Cain, a Koondrook boy who broke the ‘bloke rules’ of rural communities and is encouraging more men to speak up about what they’re going through.





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Kick-start your soil Now that the temperature is dropping, it’s easy to put all those garden maintenance jobs to one side. But do a little work now to revitalise your veggie patch and reap the rewards of winter veggies. And while you’re at it set up a bumper spring crop. So, how do you go about it? Firstly, are there any old crops in your garden bed? The best way to decide between old crop and current crop is to asses if the plant has reached its full potential. Eg: growth height has stopped, not producing as much or little produce. Be brutal. You can compost the old plants for next season or cut into fine pieces and turn through the current garden as organic matter, but you will have to wait a few weeks for the material to break down enough so new plants can benefit from the richness. The soil will be depleted of nutrients after the summer season so it’s time to fertilise and add fresh nutrients. Here are some extra tips to help you kickstart your veggie patch:

1. ALLOW MANURE TO AGE Don’t go racing out to the nearest farm or picking up droppings and throwing it straight on the garden. Fresh manure can increase the risk of burning young seedlings as it breaks down. The manure from Kennaugh’s has been

aged appropriately. As an alternative you can go with bagged or ready-to go pellet form.

2. DIG, DIG, DIG Aerate the soil. Over time soil tends to become compacted. A garden fork or shovel will give you enough reach to turn the top 20-30cm of soil. This also provides a good base to work in manure or compost.

3. TESTING, 1, 2 You can pick up soil pH test kits from Kennaugh’s store relatively cheaply. They’re simple to use and will give you quick indication of your soil pH. A good pH range for optimal growing of most vegetables is between 6 & 7.

4. ADD LIME Apply lime to balance acidic soils, autumn is the time to do it. This allows time for it to settle in before your big spring crops. Add a sprinkle over the freshly dug soil and rake in evenly.

5. WORMS (& WORM CASTINGS) ARE YOUR FRIENDS Worms are great for soil health. They help aerate the soil and break down organic matter. What’s more, their castings are an excellent soil conditioner, helping plants to absorb all the nutrients that you’ve just added to your veggie patch.

WINTER PLANTING GUIDE Temperatures can dip in our region over winter, but you can still grow a variety of veggies and herbs. Some winter vegetables that will grow well in our climate include: • Broad beans • Broccoli • Brussels sprouts • Cauliflower • Lettuce • Peas • Spinach • Turnips You can also grow many varieties of herbs in winter.

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RIENDS … HAPPY NEW Year to you all and welcome to 2019!

Here we go again with another chat about the things that matter to me and the many blokes I know living here in EchucaMoama. This month I want to talk about friends and what friendship means to us blokes. What does a real friend look like for you? How many friends do you have in your social group and how many would you count as a close friend? Thanks to the connectivity of social media these days many of us have loads of online friends, but are there friends around when you need them? When things go pear shaped? Some of us are lucky enough to have friendships that reach all the way back to school and I’m lucky to have a close group of school friends who I catch up with regularly. We’re lucky to enjoy good times and years of memories — and we’re a fairly social bunch.

These old friendships are part of a rare breed. We lead different lives and have moved in vastly different directions since finishing school, but because we grew up together we have a bond and a solid friendship base that allows us to continue where we left off. When we catch up it’s always easy and good fun. It’s hard when we all grow up — having families and different lives — to catch up regularly, but even if it’s only once a year or every two years, it’s worth making the effort to see your old mates, share memories and real life friendships. 8


Real friendships are not just there for the good times, we all know that special mate who is always there for you (or mates if you’re lucky) for when things go pear shaped. I can honestly say I have a ripper of a friend in my mate of more than 30 years, Troy O’Brien. Honest … he doesn’t piss in my pocket, he is genuine and doesn’t act differently around me. If there is a conversation that needs to be had, it happens and I suppose he takes me for who I am and the baggage I bring. We have known each other since year seven and both went away to separate boarding schools — which gave us an added connection. We have also played and watched a lot of sport together and have travelled the world with our partners. And as we get older and our kids are growing up together we support each other through the good times and the more challenging moments in life. We care and look out for each other and our families — that’s what mates do. I encourage you to reach out to an old friend this year, even if it’s been years — it will be worth the effort and work towards surrounding yourself with a genuine friend (or friends) to share both the joys and challenges in life. Humans are hardwired to connect — in person and online — and it’s what brings us joy so enjoy time with mates through 2019!

Cheers, Flippa

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They don’t come much tougher than a shearer

Franky Atkinson had a lot of choices in front of him — and none of them were good ones. Sixteen years ago the troubled teen made the bold decision to set himself straight and he started that remarkable transformation from restless ratbag in the making to a gun shearer on the world stage


USTRALIA HAS A proud history.

But few images are stronger in the narrative of the great southern land than farming in general and sheep in particular. In many ways Australia grew up on the back of the sheep. At one point one bale of wool would just about buy you a new car. Today it might not buy you a topquality pushbike. But if Australia rode on the sheep’s back, then in many ways so too has Franky Atkinson. Who is the first to admit he was heading for trouble when he was just 15. It was a chance to do a bit of rouseabouting in a local shearing shed that gave Franky a taste of life as a shearer. An opportunity that may have been a lifesaver for the frustrated teenager. “I was living in Moama at the time and I was a bit lost and naughty. I always respected my elders and my culture but I was heading down the wrong path until a



mate of mine said there was someone looking for a rouseabout,” he said. “I remember him saying to me it’s a bit of hard work Frank and you might not like it, but from the very first day I knew this was me and I had found what I wanted to do.” That was 16 years ago. The first couple of years Franky was just working in the sheds but he always had the desire to be a shearer. “Shearing is hard work. It is mentally and physically draining and not for everyone, but I love the hard work, the drive and the dedication,” he said. “Shearing is in my blood. There are a lot of my family members who are good shearers — Clinton, Noely, Brodie, Will, Keith and Rory Atkinson are all cousins who carry the same talent to get the wool off a sheep.” Franky has always been someone willing to learn and he said he owed an awful lot to shearer Brian Sullivan. “Brian gathered pretty early on I was

from a bit of a rough background and he took me under his wing from day dot,” he said. “He is like a father figure to me in the industry and he knew I had some potential before I did — he definitely gave me the drive to have a crack. “He looked out for me and didn’t mind telling me off if he thought I was doing the wrong thing.” Franky said in the early days he would head off with a team of 10 shearers for three or four weeks at a time. “We would sit around the fire and get

up to a bit of harmless fun drinking and hunting on the plains. It was hard work but we had fun as well,” he said. In 2005 Franky kicked off his show shearing at an event in Euroa. “I wasn’t really interested in show shearing at the start but I made the final at my first one and from that moment on, I thought that was all right too. You have to have a bit of mongrel in you to work hard all week and then back it up at a show, which is why a lot of people aren’t interested in it,” he said. Later that year, a lack of work due to the drought forced Franky down to Melbourne where he spent the next few years gaining a few commercial tickets. “There was not a lot of stability in shearing back then,” he said. In 2010 he returned to the industry. He made the indigenous tour in 2104 to shear at the New Zealand Shearing Championships in Ti-Kuiti. It was his proudest moment. “I came from a rough upbringing and was carted all over the country in a pretty unstable household. To be picked to represent my culture and my country from where I came from is something I am very proud of,” he said. “I want to show the other young indigenous kids that with hard work and passion you can achieve whatever you set


your mind to. I have been through a lot of tough times growing up but I was given an opportunity when I was young and I grabbed it. “Nothing has ever been given to me and I have worked my butt off to get where I am now.” In 2017 Franky returned to New


Zealand for the World Shearing and Wool Handling Championships. A good 2016 season on the circuit, he placed in five open competitions and won two, cemented him a place in the Australian side alongside nine other team members. “To shear alongside blokes I had grown up idolising was just mind blowing and you think you are doing all right until you meet up with big boys and they give you

a dose of perspective — there is always someone out there a lot better than you,” he laughed. When Franky was at the peak of his career, he was shearing between 250–300 sheep a day. “I was as fit as an Olympic athlete and pushing my body to the limit and having a fair dinkum go,” he said. “I was running and going to the gym to build up my strength so I could perform well at the championships.” Today Franky has had to take a step back from shearing. A wife and growing family have meant he can’t spend months away from home. “I know I will find my way back to shearing eventually but for the time being I have to give my family stability. My heart is in shearing and when my kids grow up I am sure I will find my way back into it,” he said. Franky said he remained grateful for being given an opportunity and for being taken under the wing of some influential people. “Blokes like Brian Sullivan and Jim Murray are putting the time into the young blokes to keep the show circuit going.” he said. “They need to make shearing a national sport, it’s not for everyone and only a select few make it to the top.” 


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t’s amazing to think that Fleetwood Mac already had 10 albums by the mid 1970s. Especially when their masterpiece was yet to come. All amidst personal turmoil within the band members. This is the aptly titled Rumours. Thoughts I’m going immediately to one of my favourite songs off this album, Go Your Own Way. This is a showing of just what a bit of angst can do for creativity, as Lindsay Buckingham writes what feels like an angry letter to the other half of a relationship on the rocks. It makes sense – Lindsay and Stevie Nicks had split up, the McVie’s were divorcing, and Mick Fleetwood was separating from his wife. Go Your Own Way captures this feeling of anger at the relationship falling apart, and when you consider what was happening internally at the time, it has a feeling like Lindsay is writing to every member of the band at once. And yet their music is perfect, the band harmonises on the track like nothing is wrong. I think these internal

problems is what makes this album so incredible. You can sense these feelings in a lot of songs. “If you don’t love me now/you will never love me again,” starts the chorus to The Chain. “Yesterday’s Gone,” appears in Don’t Stop. It could be me reading too much into the lyrics, but knowing the back story of the band at the time makes me wonder. This album was mostly written in a small house with the whole band together. But I love that about Rumours, it feels real. And yet it allowed the band to create some of their best music. Main Event Back to the pattern. “Now here you go again/you say/you want your freedom.” I adore the song Dreams. It may be my love of Stevie’s voice, but this song feels like the peak of their story. I’ve always heard this song as the jilted half of a relationship basically saying “I’m the best thing for you.” It kind of sums up Fleetwood Mac. Despite their differences, they have always seen themselves as working best together. “Women/they will come and they will go.” Almost a reference to the band, with members being in and out at times. But their return made them better. Overall One of my favourite albums ever, absolutely adore everything about Rumours. Rating: 8.5/10

with Vintage Vinyl Records Echuca Crowded House lyrics that you realise they are a bit random on paper. But as is always the case with the genius that is Neil Finn — it just works.


lready close to the biggest band in the world following the brilliant Woodface, Crowded House was riding high. Little did many people know that their next album would be their last until 2007. A swansong for foundation member Paul Hester, this album peaked at number two on the charts, and has somehow become a forgotten piece of their discography. This is Together Alone. Thoughts While the album lacks the reputation as a Woodface or their self-titled debut, there are multiple crowd favourites on this album. Distant Sun and Pineapple Head both stand out. Pineapple Head is one of the more artsy of CH’s songs: the lyrics throw a number of seemingly random thoughts together, though they all fit together in the narrative of the song. Distant Sun follows on with this trend of combining a couple of odd phrases together. It’s all a bit odd. Until the chorus, where “your seven worlds collide,” and “dust from a distance sun/will shower over everyone,” which at least follows a pattern. It’s not until you sit down and read

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Hidden Gem How is track one a hidden gem you might wonder. Well, listen to Kare Kare. The song makes me think of being down on the coast by the beach relaxing and watching the world go by me. And that would make sense, it was written at a friend of Neil Finn’s house at Karekare Beach, 35 km West of Auckland. Good music can take you to a place in your mind, and this song does exactly that. Main Event The bustling of a street starts us off on Private Universe. It’s a simple bit of storytelling to hear a busy world at the start of a song that is essentially about nothing in the world around two people mattering because they are together. There are more experimental sounds and breakdowns in this track, it reminds me of Hole In The River from the first album. I find the breakdowns in this song to be just weird enough that it feels different, but also that you want to keep listening to the track. Overall It’s not perfect, it’s the final album before the split and the first with Mark Hart. While I love this album, it’s far more hit and miss than their previous releases. The band doesn’t seem as invested, and for a few tracks it shows. Rating: 6.5/10

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F SHING COMPETITION TIME This is the time of year not only that produces the best fishing, but also is the season for Fishing Competitions. Having just completed the Deniliquin and Mathoura fishing classics all eyes are firmly on the Echuca United FNC Fishing Comp on the 15th, 16th & 17th March at Morning Glory Resort. The majority of the fish so far have been angled on bait. With worms, bardies and chicken accounting for the best results. Whilst some of the bigger ones have been taken by lure, fishermen using hard bodies & spinnerbaits , trolling early morning then bait fishing into the middle of the day may well give best results. As with all comps getting a great position is paramount and early scouting of the area can sometimes provide the upper hand. Make sure all of your safety gear is up to date, jackets serviced and cylinders in date, torch batteries and lights all working. Most importantly have fun these comps are excellent for family and friends to share experiences with other anglers and remember “no tale is too tall”.

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It’s a man’s world — under certain rules

It’s one thing to be a man but every boy growing up in a country town wants to be a bloke; one of the blokes at the footy club that everyone looks up to. But CHARMAYNE ALLISON caught up with one country kid who fled the sometimes stifling atmosphere but is using his craft to go back and try to save lives


OR TOO LONG Nick Cain has felt like a man trapped in a bloke’s body.

Growing up in Koondrook he was all too aware from day one of the strict parameters into which country boys needed to fit, to be considered “part of the gang”. He still knows the rules off by heart — rules never spoken but tacitly enforced for anyone with XY chromosomes. Like if you wanted to make friends, you basically had two options: the footy club or the cricket club. Fair dinkum blokes were in both. If you were in pain, just make sure no‑one saw you cry. And if you ever felt vulnerable, you



never, ever showed it. Because vulnerability was weakness. And men from the country are strong — they don’t talk about it, they get on with it. At 33, Nick’s not ashamed to admit he’s broken most of those rules. He had to. Because like all country people he knows too many mates; blokes, who bottled up too much. So much that in the end it overwhelmed them and they took their own lives. Nick wasn’t going to be another statistic — he doesn’t want you to be one either. So he has co-created a very personal short film highlighting this intensely

destructive macho psyche he believes still rules. Now based in Newcastle with his wife Rachelle and daughter Harper, Nick has forged a successful career as a producer, actor and podcast co-host. But it all began in Koondrook in 1990, when as a nine-year-old he wrote a play for his primary school in Barham. “They let me cast all the schoolkids for it to be performed live, it was amazing,” he recalled. “It was the kind of place where if you had an idea, you could do it.” Nick experienced another catalyst moment at Barham High School when government-funded program Machismo visited.

“The program brought artists and creatives to the town to show local boys other ways to express themselves aside from sport,” he said. “It was life-changing for me and my path as an artist because it showed me if sport wasn’t your thing, there were other outlets.” When Nick turned 18, he made the tough decision to leave Koondrook and pursue his dreams. At the time, he still didn’t realise becoming an actor was one of them. “It wasn’t really on my radar, I’d done some acting with Golden Rivers Theatre Group in Barham but that was about it,” he said. But on a whim, he auditioned for the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). A little bigger than Golden Rivers, the crème de la crème of acting royalty was among this theatre’s alumni — names such as Cate Blanchett, Baz Luhrmann and Mel Gibson.

Nick may have been a little fish in a big pond, but with nothing to lose he threw himself into the audition process. “I made it to the final stages in Melbourne, which is pretty crazy considering I hadn’t had much of an acting background,” he reflected. “However, I was told I needed to go away and explore the world first. “At the time I took it quite hard. I said I’d come back the next year and try again.” But he never did. Instead, Nick decided to forge his own path. Signing with an agent, he was soon booked in for his first gig — a show at Hunchbax Theatre Restaurant. While, he admits with a laugh, it may not have been “the highest of highbrow art”; the interactive show gave him invaluable experience in improvisation. From there, Nick dived head-first into the whirlwind world of acting. The subsequent decade saw him score

roles on Neighbours, Home and Away, observational doco Triple Zero Heroes and ABC comedy Utopia, as well as fivestar reviews for his performance in Q44 Theatre Company stage show Shining City. He also travelled to Los Angeles and Sydney to train with some of the industry’s top acting gurus while also freelancing in Australia as a creative producer in the corporate sphere. During this time, he discovered his true passion — storytelling. “Whether you’re an actor, producer or the manager of a major company or event, you have to figure out what story you’re going to tell and how you’re going to shape that story,” he said. From this newfound passion came The Act of Storytelling (TAOS) podcast. The brainchild of Nick and his now business partner, Melbourne-based actor Lauren Bailey, the podcast series told the stories of people impacting the world >>> BEAU MAGAZINE MARCH 2019


>>> through their art — from artists and actors to directors and producers. “We did it for four years then decided to take a little break, as we weren’t sure it was adding as much value to our lives and our listeners’ lives as it had been,” he said. Two years ago, the pair reunited for In Life Today, a short film written by and starring Lauren, with Nick playing a small guest role and helping produce under the TAOS banner. The film went on to win Best Actress and Best Screenplay at the Gold Coast’s SIPFest and had its premiere at Flickerfest in Bondi. Following this stunning success, the duo began brainstorming their next project. And landed on a powerful theme. “Around this time I read a beautiful blog post by a former Barham local about the tragic passing of her father due to issues with mental health when she was young,” he said. “The post wasn’t about the negative impacts of his passing, but the beautiful memories and loving relationship she had with her father. “Lauren and I had also been affected by other tragic circumstances involving men in our own lives, where loving fathers were leaving behind or almost leaving

they need to and feel they are just a behind beautiful families.” burden on their families. The creative pair decided then and “My wife Rachelle and I had just had there this was the story they needed to our daughter Harper while this was tell. being developed, so for me this film is “It was clear some serious conversations also about legacy. About the kind of were needed to ensure these tragedies father I want to be.” didn’t keep occurring,” Nick said. Through creating Before I Go, Nick “And knowing the figures, it was has realised just how far society still has especially vital in rural areas.” to go in addressing men’s mental health. Before I Go is the story of three Particularly in rural areas. generations of a farming family, exploring “There are 100 per cent stricter the idea we want the best for the ones boundaries around men in the we love, even if we don’t always have the country — you just have to look at the words to let them know. suicide rates,” he said. “We want it to be less about the act of “Growing up in the country, there’s a suicide or loss and more about the lack of certain box you need to fit in to feel like connection that can occur,” Nick said. you belong. He and Lauren decided to film in “And above all, there can be a Barham and Koondrook and involve real stigma around men being locals where they could, including smaller vulnerable — it’s often seen as performance roles and crew. weakness. But vulnerability is actually As the script for the film developed, the strength. duo realised it would need to examine “The strength to be vulnerable, the how men’s mental health affected not just power to be vulnerable — that’s what generations of men, but also women. being a man is all about. In fact, the story is told through the “Because when we think about it, the eyes of the youngest member of the family, men we have the most respect for are a young girl. the ones who can stand up and say, “Mental health affects everyone in some ‘Mate, I’m struggling’.” way,” Nick said. If you or someone you know needs “The tragedy with men’s mental health assistance with their mental health, you is many victims are loving fathers. But can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.  they aren’t communicating in the way



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The tools of the trade MITCHELL CHAPMAN APPRENTICE CHEF AT JUNCTION MOAMA 1. How long have you been in the trade? Three years. 2. What’s the crappiest job you’ve had to do? I’ve had to clean spilt oil off the ground. 3. Do you get to eat your own food for lunch or BYO? I get to do both. 4. Have you ever copped an injury on the job? Yes, I’ve cut my finger. 5. What’s the hardest dish you’ve had to make? Definitely our steam buns. 6. Who’s the dopiest staff member? Luke. 7. What’s your secret to wasting time on the job without anyone noticing? Keep moving around the kitchen quickly. 8. Which position has it the easiest? The dishy. 9. What’s your favourite job in the kitchen? Making our desserts. 10. Your idea of a good weekend? Swimming.

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