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



School's out as 50,000 NSW teachers stop work

About 50,000 state school teachers across NSW will stop work on Thursday morning for a salary vote.

Minimal supervision will still be available as 50,000 teachers vote

Tweed sport in brief

Cabarita's Sophia Fulton finished runner-up for a national surfing title on Saturday.

Weekend sport action

MT WARNING: Rescues show just how dangerous it can be

Therese Krix of Bray Park captured this picture of a misty Mt Warning.

Emergency services executed 14 rescue missions in six years

Local Partners

Joy of Christmas goes up in lights

Which house on the Tweed has the best Christmas?


Man builds playground entirely out of packing tape

Artist Eric Lennartson is in the process of completing his huge tape sculpture at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

VIDEO:And here's where you can play on it.

Cooly sings out for carols

Santa gets ready to skydive into the Coolangatta Christmas Carols on Sunday, December 13. Photo: Scott Powick Daily News

Santa dropping in for Christmas Carols at Coolangatta

Countdown to Woodford Folk Festival begins

ECONOMIC BOON: Woodford Folk Festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.  Photo Contributed

The first larger-than-life inhabitants have stepped into Woodfordia

Taylor Lautner 'spotted smooching co-star'

Taylor Lautner has been romantically linked to Billie Lourd

David Beckham's tattoos come to life for UNICEF campaign

David Beckham has called for an end to violence against children

Pop star Liam Payne's Facebook hacked with porn

"Things that can happen to you when you don't have sex."

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather

Tim Roth was abused by his grandfather during his childhood.

Leo designs shocker tattoo for Tom Hardy after lost bet

Leonardo DiCaprio has designed a new tattoo for Tom Hardy

Hollywood star at home on the Coffs Coast

FEELING LUCKY, SON?: Scott Eastwood visited the Coffs Coast

Guess which Hollywood star has been seen around the Coffs Coast?

Developer's grand new multi-million dollar estate

NEW ESTATE: This is the only plan revealed by the property developer's new Billabongs Estate in Agnes Water.

DEVELOPER given the go ahead for a massive estate with 149 homes.

Banks reclaim Gladstone homes as job losses bite

LONG FALL: Property experts Heron Todd say, based on key market indicators, Gladstone is still travelling to the bottom of the market, with property prices set to get cheaper.

Property valuers say Gladstone housing market hasn't hit the bottom

The million dollar property to test Mackay's market

This Victoria St building will go to auction Tuesday and investors will be watching closely to see how much it sells for.

'High profile architect designed CBD asset' goes to auction

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!