Rural

The reporter I called my friend, taken too soon

Warrego Watchman reporter Natalee Hall (below) with Marguerite Cuddihy and Western Times reporter Andrew Messenger.
Warrego Watchman reporter Natalee Hall (below) with Marguerite Cuddihy and Western Times reporter Andrew Messenger.

NATALEE Hall was a reporter.

I met her for the last time at a council meeting at the Murweh Shire building on Thursday.

In a break, we talked about court cases she was excited to cover on Tuesday.

She told me she'd started to feel at home in Charleville. She had been picked to be part of a race at Cooladdi on Saturday because she was so small it was easy to pick her up.

She laughed about her poor performance in AusTag the previous night. We gossiped.

Then we were motioned to go back into the chamber, to try to make sense of the chaos of the council meeting, to bring something back to the office that could be translated into a tale worthy of reading.

Born on July 28, 1995, Natalee came into our fabled profession early, and left it early too, at age 21, on Saturday morning at 6.30.

Her car hit a tree after swerving to miss a kangaroo about 30km south of Augathella. She died at the scene.

Natalee was the passenger. The driver's condition is described as non-life threatening. If you know her, and I do, she will need your support.

Natalee was a special person. She was never unhappy for long, or happy briefly. She made friends easily and enemies never.

For the last four months of her life she worked for the storied Warrego Watchman, one of three journalists there, in a paper as old as the towns they work in.

She moved from Boronia Heights in Logan, and started at the paper in July.

By October she'd just become a permanent member of staff, and was ecstatic about it.

Natalee never wrote a story that was easy or throwaway, was never unwilling to drive the extra hundred miles to get a photo and a story of a kid winning her first gymkhana.

She slept on swags and lived in an old fashioned pub in a town hundreds of miles away from friends or family.

She worked weekends and nights and always made the extra phone call to double check.

She did it because she cared about people's stories, about the good times and the bad times and the funny times.

About the things that governments and community groups and businesses do that hurt us or help us.

About the communities we live in, and the people who live in them and the things that happen there that are never heard about outside.

About the purifying power of the simple fact.

One day she'd have been a great writer at some fantastic magazine or on TV.

One day she'd have redefined how you or I think about something or someone or somewhere. She never got that chance.

Topics:  editors picks warrego



Date nights under $50

ACCORDING to The Bachelor falling in love involves helicopter rides, private jets, shopping trips, and we mustn’t forget the hot tubs.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Six reasons to get to Brisbane this Autumn

The Brisbane Powerhouse has free comedy on Friday nights.

AUTUMN has to be up there with one of the best seasons of the year.

The best things to do in Brisbane are FREE. Yes, FREE

Mt Coot-tha is a seriously gorgeous way to start your day.

HEADING to the big smoke doesn’t have to come with a big price tag.

West State School students stand up for safety

SAY NO: Denise Morcombe, Liam Vickers, Phoebe Callcott, Gemma Vickers, Bruce Morcombe and Alexander Callcott make a stand.

Morcombes visit Warwick West State School

Town Hall toilets to take final flush

FINAL FLUSH: Southern Downs Regional Council have moved to demolish the public toilets in the Warwick Town Hall car park.

SDRC move to dump facility

Driven to deliver the very best

READY FOR THE JOB: Staff member James Wilson, manager Paul Quirk and delivery driver David Smith getting ready to unveil the new Burson Auto Parts store in Warwick next month.

New auto retailer set to open

Local Partners

Country life appeals to new officer-in-charge

A new officer-in-charge has been appointed for Stanthorpe Police Station but he is not entirely new to the region


Events you need to be at this week...

Warwick driver Len Don is a regular in Queensland Super Sprints action at Morgan Park and also runs all five legs of the annual Pentath-run.

Super sprints on at Morgan Park Raceway

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

State champs are on this weekend at raceway

RACING: Warwick driver Matt Clift is a regular in state championship racing at Morgan Park Raceway.

CAMS state racing returns to Morgan Park

Dreamworld may supersize with 'Disneyland expansion'

OWNERS of icon Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld want to super-size the site with accommodation and entertainment to turn it into Australia’s Disneyland.

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000 calorie diet

Brian Shaw won his 4th World's Strongest Man title. Source: Twitter

World’s strongest man reveals incredible 12,000-calorie diet

ABC2 slammed over football exhibition match coverage

Fans weren't too happy with ABC2's coverage of Wednesday night's game.

ABC2 slammed for coverage of soccer exhibition match

'Bulls--t!' Lisa Wilkinson grilled over Karl's pay packet

Join us for a Great Night as we Proudly present Lisa Wilkinson

“And you believe everything you read?”

Rebel Wilson trial: The secret we never could have known

Rebel Wilson outside court

“Most people wouldn’t know it exists,” she said.

Janet’s back in the ring

Marta Dusseldorp returns in season three of the TV series Janet King.

Season three of ABC's legal drama delves deeper than ever before.

Game of Thrones drops new trailer for season 7

Game of Thrones fans have been given a new trailer for season 7.

Fans are finally getting a full-throttled peak at season seven.

Open for inspection homes May 25-31

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!