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


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Riders undergo training clinic

CLASS ACT: A horse riding clinic was held at the weekend, with German instructor Tanja Mitton coaching riders.

Riders took part in a special horse riding clinic at the weekend.

Youngsters learn to wet a line at the creek

GREAT CATCH: Jack Bell with the catfish he caught at the Learn to Fish Day on Saturday .

It was a great day for all involved at the Learn to Fish Day

Family fun for Junior Rugby League day

Jake Burnell took his turn on the mechanical at the Junior Rugby League Family Fun Day on Saturday, February 18.

It was a great day out at the Junior Rugby League Family Fun Day

Local Partners

Crease heats up in cricket comp

Tussle between best performers keep finals race open

How Stay at Home Mum blogger Jody Allen struck it big

Jody Allen and Walt Collins will co-host the Seven Network's Stay at Home Mum television series from April.

Jody Allen's star continues to rise at incredible speed

Comedy with extra cheese

Paul Fenech is taking his TV series Fat Pizza on the road for a series of live shows.

Fat Pizza and Housos are coming to town

One of the top five car collections in the world

A 1950 Alvis TB14 Roadster is a highlight in the museum.

Gosford home to largest, privately-owned classic car collection.

Paul Murray listens to regions

The man who can talk underwater is ready to listen and broadcast it back to the pollies.

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

Jolie may have the kids, but Pitt has custody of Hollywood

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Expert: Why renters, home buyers may struggle

Matusik Property Insights director Michael Matusik.

What's next for the city's housing market

Massive seaside development of 3200 lots

DESIRABLE LIFESTYLE: The masterplan for the proposed Elliott Heads Estate.

"There's nothing else left along the coastline of Queensland now"

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

50 more high rise buildings planned for Brisbane CBD

Height limits have been scrapped for Brisbane CBD

800,000 more people expected to work in city over next 20 years

New suburb in the crosshairs of Coast vandals

UNDER WRAPS: Graffiti on art installations at the entrance to the newly opened Bells Creek Arterial Road has been covered up.

Vandal rechristens Stockland as something less than complimentary

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!