Morgan misses the cold
WHEN Morgan Dunn (nee Palmer) made the tree change to Stanthorpe in 2004 she wasted no time getting involved in the community.
Morgan, the daughter of Ken and Valmai Palmer, moved to the Granite Belt chasing a lifestyle change.
"I moved to Stanthorpe in November of 2004, having left my job at Qantas of 17 years at the Brisbane International Airport, for a better lifestyle," Morgan said.
"My parents had retired there and countless visits later I joined the tree-change."
Morgan had several business ventures during her six years in Stanthorpe - the first of which was starting up a self-contained accommodation on Connor St called Barrington House.
"It was a lovely Queenslander, recently restored and proved to be very popular, especially during the winter months, peak tourist season," she said.
While running that, Morgan had several other jobs around town, including working with the Heritage Building Society for a year, a brief stint at the Border Post and administration with Pierpoint Motors.
"I also joined the committee as a director for the ball for the 2006 Apple and Grape Harvest Festival," she said.
"Life took a major turn when I purchased the florist in town."
Morgan opened Florum: Florist and Giftware in November of 2007 and had the business until she left in January 2011.
"Owning a business in town you were guaranteed to meet many of the residents and they enjoyed my creativity," she said.
"I had wonderful support from many of the years.
"I haven't entirely escaped floristry though.
"Next March I will be providing flowers for a wedding that ironically is the largest I will have ever done."
In 2011 Morgan left Stanthorpe and headed for the desert to Roxby Downs to be with her now husband Paul.
"Most people respond with where is that?," she said.
"Roxby Downs is in the north-west pastoral district of South Australia.
"We are 80km north of Woomera, past the black stump and over the red dunes."
The town is a mining town, home to 4500 residents.
"It is only a young town celebrating 25 years late last year," Morgan said.
"The first time my husband took me to see our home, it was 48 degrees."
Up until the middle of this year Morgan worked on site for BHP Billiton as the personal assistant to the general manager smelter and refinery.
"Mine sites are amazing places, with challenges working there and a very strict, yet positive safety culture," she said.
"Every day, I donned orange overalls and steel-capped boots, wore a helmet and carried gloves and a respirator as I travelled about site.
"It's a tough place to work. Summer is long and tiring hot (last summer we had 41 days of 40 degrees plus, 29 of those were 45 degrees plus) and winter, although not as long and cold as Stanthorpe can drop down to -3 degrees on a regular basis.
"I admire my husband and his crew, they work in areas that can reach 60 degrees plus. It's not for the faint hearted."
For the past few months Morgan has been working for the Roxby Council in a customer service role.
"Every day is different, from assisting in citizenship ceremonies, to raising the flags," she said.
"I am loving the role and the opportunity once again to meet the community.
"I'm currently studying a Certificate IV in Digital Design, which is very fulfilling and tapping into my creative side. Life is very busy."
And while loving her life at the moment Morgan said she often missed Stanthorpe, especially the people.
"I made many wonderful friends over the years there and am very thankful for Facebook and my ability to keep in contact with them all," she said.
"When I read the news of what's happening in town, I don't feel so far away sometimes.
"My mother still diligently cuts out articles and photos from the paper and bundles them up to send to me. Love getting them.
"I must admit, I so miss the cold.
"Those white frosty mornings, that drizzly mountain weather and crackling fires.
"I'm probably daydreaming about it, as it's currently 44 degrees as I write this…and summer has yet to start."
Morgan and her husband made the trip back to the Granite Belt for Stanthorpe Rocks a couple of weeks ago.
"We're also venturing over again in January to celebrate my parents, Ken and Valmai Palmer's, 50th wedding anniversary," she said.
"Family are coming from all over the country, so it's going to be something very special."