Turia’s Close family ties to Bingara

March 3, 2014

On Thursday March 13, Turia Pitt will travel to Bingara to provide a first-hand account of her extraordinary experiences.

She will be speaking at a function at the Roxy, starting at 6.00 pm. In 2011 Turia was competing in a 100km ultra-marathon in the Kimberley. 25kms into the race, Turia and five other runners found themselves trapped in a gorge with a fire raging towards them.

With nowhere to hide, the runners attempted to run up the face of the rocky cliff. Faced with a splitsecond decision, Turia endeavored to shelter on a small ledge but was soon engulfed by flames.

With little water or shelter from the baking sun, four hours passed before Turia was airlifted to hospital with burns to over 65% of her body.

Since that fateful day, Turia’s recovery has been nothing short of miraculous.

Turia has been invited by the Upper Gwydir Landcare Association (UGLA) to officially launch its ‘Gwydir Women of Mettle: Forging Leaders’ project for 2014. The ‘Gywdir Women of Mettle’ project celebrates the formidable strength and resilience of women.

As testimony to Turia’s strength, a week after her visit to Bingara, she will cycle from Sydney to Uluru to raise money for charity. In May she will participate in a 20km swim at Lake Argyle as a thank you to the people of Kununarra, before walking a section of the Great Wall of China later in the year.

It is notable that Turia is able to take time out of her busy schedule to visit Bingara. In fact, Turia’s family has close personal ties with the town.

Turia’s grandfather, Alan Pitt’s first country appointment in his role as an accountant, was with the Commercial Banking Company branch in Bingara. He and his wife Margaret spent two years in the town from 1962 – 1964 before being transferred to Armidale.

Alan provides the following account of his time in Bingara: “We found the town most delightful and perhaps the better of all my country appointments. We rented a cottage next door to the Rixons (long gone from Bingara) who ran a hardware store in the town. The Batterham Family conducted the newsagency.

I was very involved with Apex and was instrumental in having an ambulance station established in the town. We did all our shopping in the town and, in particular, at Fays who stocked all our needs.

The movie theatre had closed and we have read where it has since been restored and one of the attractions in the area. Of course there was no swimming pool so we drove out to a pool in the Gwydir river and always had a barbecue on the river bank.

Of importance Bingara is where son Andrew was born so the town will always be remembered by us, more so Andrew.

Our cottage in Cunningham Street (next to the Rixons) has since been demolished and a new home erected thereon. A great feature of the town is that a couple of the streets have orange trees in lieu of the traditional gum tree. What a great idea!

Anyway a superb town and, being a country boy, could quite easily return and live there.”

With this close family connection to Bingara, it Is fitting that Turia has been chosen to launch the ‘Gwydir Women of Mettle: Forging Leaders’ project.

The project will run over the course of the year. A series of workshops will be held with a number of aims, including enabling women to adapt to change while providing them with the skills, confidence and opportunities to take on leadership roles within their communities.

The ‘Gwydir Women of Mettle’ leadership project is supported by Upper Gwydir Landcare, through funding from the Australian Federal Government initiative ‘Caring For Our Country.’

Tickets to the launch with Turia Pitt are $15 which includes canapés and complimentary drinks on arrival; a presentation by Turia followed by Q & A session. Proceeds to Interplast for whom Turia is an ambassador. Both men and women are invited to participate in this special event.

Bookings are essential and can be made on-line or through UGLA by phone: 67 242 052 or in person at the UGLA office: 35B Maitland St, Bingara. E-mail: ugla@gwydir. nsw.gov.au or visit the website: www.ugla.com.au

Book Online Tickets are $15 which includes canapés and complimentary drinks on arrival; a presentation by Turia followed by Q & A session.