I recently read the story ‘The Homecoming’ written by Mandy Nolan and felt compelled, as a born and bred resident of Wondai, to respond. Ms Nolan’s story is not only misleading and disrespectful to our town and her beautiful grandmother but unprofessional, eg by the use of the word shithole, and lacks base.
Wondai is a small country town that doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of the city or the coast but it certainly is not the slow-moving ‘ghost town’ Ms Nolan refers to. Our town and its residents stick together and the discovery of Ms Nolan’s story is no exception; the comments and defensiveness of past and present and visitors of the town on Facebook concerning this story is overwhelming.
I’m not sure where Ms Nolan was looking when she moved the ‘boarded-up shops’ and lack of growth of the town, or when she only found one bottle of wine in the wine-growing region. These statements are completely untrue as the town has grown significantly over the years and the ‘strictly beer-drinking’ residents are very proud of our growing tourism industry including our numerous wineries.
It is clear Ms Nolan has not visited the town in some time – evidenced by her having to ‘drive around town looking for the nursing home’ – I do not feel how she is in a position to make such a harsh judgment of the town. Most of the town know Ms Nolan’s grandmother and while she is respected, she also pitied for her ungracious granddaughter.
We are a close-knit community who look after each other in a crisis; it’s never hard to find a friend when you need one. Recently, one of our own passed away from melanoma; the town rallied together to raise thousands of dollars for her foundation to assist research into the disease. It is evident that Ms Nolan not only lacks community spirit and compassion but also the knowledge of the impact of the sun as a cause of melanoma as if she did, she would not be trying to take her children to the pool in the middle of the day.
Wondai is a country town so god forbid there is a bit of wildlife around and it is hot and dry. I assume Ms Nolan’s expectations of the town were nothing but delusional. Have you heard the expression if you have nothing good to say, don’t say anything at all, Ms Nolan? We as a town are very sad Ms Nolan felt the need to write this story for a bit of publicity; she has publicity now but for all the wrong reasons. There are many past and present residents and visitors to Wondai and the South Burnett who will not be interested in reading Ms Nolan’s ‘tall tales’ in the future.
Ms Nolan need not worry about being classified in the same category as the likes of cricket great, Carl Rackemann. Mr Rackemann has respect for his town, compassion and much more talent than the writing in this article has shown. Your paper should feel less than proud to publish such classless fiction.
Belinda Litzow, Wondai