Koala spotting tops agenda for US visitors

September 25, 2017

When former Bingara girl, Helen Adamson, who now lives in Grand Rapids, Minnesota in the US, asked her friends who were to visit the country where Helen grew up, what they wanted to see, they all listed seeing a koala on top of their list.

Helen and her friends who call themselves ‘The Pine Needlers’ get together on a monthly basis in the northern hemisphere summer at each others’ houses, and spend the day doing their craft which involves anything related to quilting. “I generally host the group in September, either by the lake, or we do an afternoon and hang the quilts in the pines, and raise money for charity” Helen explained.

“We have done this for a few years, and decided we wanted to take a break. I said ‘if we are not going to do this event, I would like to go back and visit Mum’ at the end of winter, but if you would all like to come along, you are more than welcome,” she said.

The Pine Needlers

Former Bingara girl Helen Adamson (centre, red sleeves) with her mother, Mollie Frost, and friends from Grand Rapids, Minnesota: Mary Jo,
Susie, Merle, Linda, Andrea and Nancy ready for a visit to Upper Horton.

Within 48 hours, Helen had received deposits from everyone in the group. “Helen was coming for my 90th birthday in the middle of July,” Mollie added. “I told them up-front that it was a visit to the country, it wasn’t a tourist visit, we were going to a small town in rural New South Wales, we would come to Bingara and stay with my mother for eight or nine nights,” Helen said.

“They have seen everything associated with rural life, we have been able to see the koalas, we have been to Inverell, seen sheep shearing the other side of Warialda. Michelle Coulton has been a very major factor in organising this, we are now off to the sheep dog trials.” When they arrived in Sydney, Helen hired a small bus, and drove her friends to Tamworth where they visited her sister, before driving on to Bingara.

Each of the women were allocated a task so it would not be too much work for Mollie. After their visit to Bingara, Helen took the ladies to Sydney where they saw sights including the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, before they returned home.

“We went to Church, and we visited the craft group,” Susie said. “We met enough people that we could walk down the street, and know someone,” she said. “Even in Inverell, because someone from here was there that day.” Everyone is exceedingly friendly, added another of the group. The ladies were very excited to visit a Wires rescuer at Croppa Creek and meet a small koala she is caring for, and to see another in a tree outside. The women also saw kangaroos which were top of their ‘must see’ list, also some emus.