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5 March 2007

Acland

The unusual thing about Acland is that almost all the residents are about to leave.


LISA MILLAR: This is a story about a town or rather the end of one. Two hours drive west of Brisbane, out past Oakey, you'll find Acland. You can count the number of streets on one hand and pretty soon you'll be able to do the same with its residents.

GARAGE SALE BUYER: How much do you want for that?

NEV HARTLAND: It's amazing what they have bought, bits and pieces, kitchen ware and what have you, stuff that's been at the back of our cupboard for years.

LISA MILLAR: Acland has put up the for sale sign. The locals are leaving. And as their one last hurrah they held Acland's biggest ever garage sale, although most would confess it was Acland's only ever garage sale.

KATHY GREENHALGH: When I got up this morning there were trucks driving past very, very slowly backwards and forwards.

LISA MILLAR: And what time was that?

KATHY GREENHALGH: Five o'clock, so we hid inside and had breakfast.

Enjoy them, they're in very bad condition but they're very very interesting.

RESIDENT: It's not in tune though.

LISA MILLAR: Until just a few days ago, Kathy Greenhalgh and her husband John lived here. In fact they've called Acland home for 32 years.

KATHY GREENHALGH: Longest time we've lived in any place; we put the roots down and ended up staying here.

LISA MILLAR: But just a few kilometres down the road is a neighbour with a little more clout who was also keen to stay.

Coal mining helped establish Acland in 1913. And business is booming. The New Hope Coal Mine is creeping slowly closer chasing the lucrative mineral beneath the ground. The company offered to buy the residents out, and most of them happily said yes.


Progress is not something Acland's had a lot of over the years. The school might have ruled but not for a long while. Tired and overgrown it's gone the way of the local hotel, the grocery shop, the butcher, the baker. There was even a railway station. But that suits Terry McNally just fine.

TERRY McNALLY: I liked the town very much. It's very peaceful here, very quiet. There's no hotel in the town, which is good. You don't get too much strife in a town where there's no hotel and I'd like to stay here for the rest of my life.

LISA MILLAR: He's one of the newer residents. At 65 he's only lived here two and a half years so when the mine offered to double his money, he said "no thanks" he thinks the others sold out too cheaply.

TERRY McNALLY: I'm one of those staying here.

GARAGE SALE BUYER: You're staying?

LISA MILLAR: At last count he'll be one of just five or six residents left in Acland. Eventually these streets will empty but for the few who are staying like Terry McNally, well they want the area kept tidy, the water on, the phones connected. It's posing a tricky question for the council how long do you keep maintaining a town that no longer exists? That's the conundrum facing Noel Strohfeld.

NOEL STROHFELD, MAYOR: I've just got one real problem with this of course it's all imperial.

LISA MILLAR: He's the Shire Mayor and knows this is a big day in the history of Acland.

NOEL STROHFELD: Well Acland is a mining town and mining towns do come and they do go.

LISA MILLAR: Well they couldn't have asked for a better plug for their garage sale?

NOEL STROHFELD: Certainly a lot of people around town and I think there'd be a fair amount of nostalgia today. One of the big problems in the future is to make sure the history of Acland and Acland it was and the old mining town that is now fast disappearing all that history is preserved.

LISA MILLAR: Part of that history is the local coalmine museum. It's been a labour of love for Kathy Greenhalgh who'll now watch over it from her new home in Oakey.

KATHY GREENHALGH: We'll be sitting on the hill looking back at Acland and watching the mine gobble up everything so until they get to the mine museum then that will be a bit different. I hope I'm still around and I'll come charging out in my wheelchair if they look as if they're going to knock that down.


story notes

Acland
Acland is a small town west of Brisbane, in Queensland.


bought
Here bought is the past participle of the irregular verb buy. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: buy

for sale sign
A for sale sign is a big sign you put up when you want to sell something.

locals
the people who live there

last hurrah
A last hurrah is a last effort - itís the last thing you do when you are leaving a place or a job.
Click here for more idioms and common expressions.

held
Here held is the past tense of the irregular verb hold. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: hold

garage sale
A garage sale is a sale you have at your house, to get rid of the old things you donít want or need anymore. People often have garage sales before they move house.

hid
Hid is the past tense of the irregular verb hide. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: hide

put the roots down
became established

establish
set up

booming
going very well

buy the residents out
To buy out means to buy everything that someone else has, so you own everything.

gone
Gone is the past participle of the irregular verb go. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
more information: go

strife
trouble