Rain, an influx of new residents and government funding has rejuvenated the land of the croaking frogs.

Story + Photos Mandy McKeesick

Times have been tough in Dirranbandi. The railway closed in 2010, preceding a decade of drought, and the town and the Balonne Minor River alongside it seemed to wither and retreat from the world. The frogs, for which the town is named, stopped croaking. But now the rains have arrived, bringing with them a new wave of residents, and rejuvenation is in the air.

Down at the old convent, built in the 1950s wool boom, sawdust is flying as builders hammer and plane under the guidance of Nikki Pulfer. Nikki is a former school and hospital chaplain who heeded the call to move to Dirran with her husband Scott in 2019. “We were gifted a house with my chaplaincy work, and within a year the caravan park and convent came up for sale,” Nikki says. It seemed like fate and they set on a path of restoration, with aims of creating a non-denominational chapel for the community. “We have had assistance from Care Outreach and Mobile Mission Maintenance, who have helped with the building, and government grants provided funding for painting,” she says. “Everyone who has turned up has been fantastic.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #141

Outback Magazine: February/March 2022