Travel any country road and you’ll see them, often at the end of sweeping left-handers or the base of scarred gum trees. Some are small, barely noticeable: a teddy bear atop a three-legged stool, a posy of plastic flowers zip-locked to the side. Others are flamboyant, large and, like the person they are intended to remind us of, unashamedly THERE.
This memorial garden is on the Gwydir Highway, west of Wee Waa.
Richy Jackson left us here, on 28 November 2004. The plaque inside the fence hints at the story of Richy’s life, and his end. Do people still tell the story, after a few beers, of Richy’s last ride?
That part of the highway is long, straight, treeless. What happened? Seeing if the ute could top two-forty kays? A blowout? A roo?
This one on the Grawin road is similarly inscrutable. There is no bad bend, awkward camber, soft tree-lined edge. What happened, Ben?
Next to the hospital, on the bore baths road, there are clusters of memorials.
The little toys are so poignant.
And those football boots …
We’re here so briefly, and gone for such a long time.