People from Leeton love the town. Even some of us blow-ins think it is a pretty good place to be.
There is much about the town and shire that is totally endearing - the people, community spirit - and there are things that, while some are not uniquely Leeton, those from the town can identify with.
Let us know if you think there are any other tell-tale signs you're from Leeton.
You know you're from Leeton when:
1. You are more used to seeing palm trees without an ocean than beside the beach
MOST people conjure up images of crystal clear ocean waters and shining white sand when they think of palm trees. If you're from Leeton, palm trees mean you've hit Yanco and are only minutes from home. Leeton and Yanco are hundreds of kilometres from the nearest coast and thousands from the tropics, but the towns are an oasis in the desert and have the palm trees to prove it.
2. You don't question unfenced channels, but your backyard pool has to be locked up at all times
LEETON shire is at the heart of a vast irrigation area, meaning there are hundreds of kilometres of unfenced channels and stormwater systems, some just metres from homes or major roadways. How many people drown in them annually? Over the last 100 years the figure would be close to negligible. That's a non-scientific conclusion based on experience over the last decade and the fact so few people even consider it an issue. However, if you have a pool in your backyard - and many Leeton homeowners do - you have to have an approved fence and council certification or get slapped with a fine.
3. Periods of 40-plus degrees is a normal summer
OLDER residents will tell you it is nowhere near as hot now as it was when they were growing up, but five or more days of 40-plus temperatures is, by definition, a heatwave. New arrivals marvel at the dry, constant heat then melt as they realise a traditional summer spell has kicked in and isn't going away just yet. There are usually at least two of these - one to really heat things up before Christmas as we try to become "acclimatised" at the start of summer and then another at some point in February, also known as the "hottest part of the year".
4. You know who this guy is
IF YOU don't know Carl King, you are not from Leeton. Kingy is a living Leeton legend. Born and bred in town, he is a life-long sportsman, who at times, single-handedly kept the Phantoms Rugby Club going and played into his 50s. Even now he is always ready to strap on the boots in case the side is short. He provides heart and soul for the community as chairman of the Light Up Leeton Christmas festival and his work with other community groups. A social chap, Kingy has been known to enjoy a drink or two and can usually outlast those more than half his age. (And a big shout-out to Brenda King, the woman behind the man).
5. You've walked, run or cycled the circle
THE design of Leeton was completed by Walter Burley Griffin, he of Canberra-design fame. As a result we have "spoked" main thoroughfares linked in a "circular" pattern by other roads - some big, some small, with the main circumference being the Palm/Acacia avenue loop. Civic planners have kindly used this town circle around the central business district and residential area, as the guideline for a five-kilometre walking/cycling track that takes you right back to where you started. There are other tracks that take you to other parts of the town, as well as to Yanco, but it is the circle that attracts the most pounding of paws and feet.
6. You come back to Leeton every two years for the SunRice Festival ... and love it. No matter how old you are
WHAT are you doing for Easter? Going home for the SunRice Festival. From university students to those who have moved away and started their own families, the biennial celebration of the rice industry and harvest brings young and old flocking back to town. Unrivalled in NSW, others look on with envy - kicking off with a cocktail party, the festival includes a full street parade, carnival in the park, a swathe of smaller attractions, the Riverina Skate Championships and culminates with the awesome balloon glow. On top of that it is a community fund-raising initiative that returns tens of thousands of dollars back into the shire and charities. Brilliant.
7. You know Corbie Hill is a place, not the name of an up-and-coming young actor
LEETON may be small, but it does have what you could loosely term suburbs. There is the town circle area, Parkview, Willimbong, Merungle Hill, Wattle Hill, Amesbury and the aforementioned Corbie Hill. At a stretch you can include Fivebough, Stony Point, Stanbridge and Gogeldrie (which, coming from Leeton, you can pronouce properly), while Murrami, Whitton and Yanco are standalone towns in the shire. Controversially, the village of Wamoon has been "absorbed" into Leeton, at least as far as government services are concerned, but the locals will fiercely defend their independence.
8. Full names of drinking establishments are never necessary
WHAT need is there for full names when you can meet up with friends at the Leeton, the Wade, the Soldiers or the L&D? Yanco Club speaks for itself and would never be confused with Yanco Pub. The Platform Lounge can confuse, but if in doubt call it the Mia Club. The Top Hydro and Bottom Hydro were neighbours and legendary in their own right, but completely different beasts. Unfortunately, only the Top Hydro remains as a sit-down drinking establishment, but it's now the Freckled Duck. Funny that the early MIA was set up as a dry area and residents, including for a time Henry Lawson, had to travel to Whitton or Narrandera for a beer, or rely on strategically smuggled booze.
9. Unusual names hold no fear for you
HOW could multiple syllables and interesting combinations of letters to create a range of sounds be a concern? You've grown up with Pirrottina, Quinlivan, Puntoriero, McAliece, Ciccia, Nakubawai, Kirkup, Mandaglio, Hehir, Korovata, Papasidero, Enticknap, Catanzariti, Schmetzer, Baravilala, Sgroi, Mallamace, Lucchese, Fiumara, Gullotta and Feagai (to name just a few), so it becomes second nature. You also know Houghton is pronounced "Howton", not "Horton" or "Huffton", because you've probably known at least one of them most of your life, or are related.
10. A holiday by the river doesn't disrupt your everyday life
LEETON is not a river town. The Murrumbidgee is a 15km drive away, which is just far enough to use it as a holiday destination, while still being able to duck into town to shop and sometimes even continue working. It is not uncommon for families to spend a couple of weeks over summer living at ski beach, lazing by the river and coming back to town for the necessities. Weekend camping trips can also operate under the same rules.
11. You've pulled on the boots for the Greens, Hawks/Hurricanes, Phantoms, Crows or United
FOR an overall shire population of less than 12,000 people, Leeton shire has five clubs playing four codes of football (fielding up to four men's teams, plus women's). During winter running out to represent your team is just what you do. Many people have "code-hopped" - quite often over the course of one weekend - and plenty have changed clubs over time. While you always fight for the club you are playing for on any particular day, there is always a sense of pride when a football team from the shire is doing well and everyone wants to know the score from each others' games.
12. You will only park in front of the shop you want to go to, or continue lapping until a space opens up
THIS one isn't confined to Leeton. How often do you see cars doing laps of the main street - and not just the P platers - waiting to find that perfect park either right in front of, or slightly next door to, the shop the person wants to go in. They completely ignore the fact there is a free carpark one street over from the main drag that is quite often mostly empty and has equally easy access to where you want to go.
13. The installation of a set of traffic lights means we were no longer the town we once were
LEETON is a country town, why on earth does it need traffic lights? It seemed a ridiculous notion to so many people. If you want traffic lights, go to the city. Did the installation of one set of traffic lights, on the heavy vehicle bypass to help trucks better negotiate access into and out of town, signal the end of the age of innocence? For about five minutes, then everybody got over it and they are now a fact of life.
14. When the smallest shower opens up the biggest potholes
FOR some reason, even the idea of a passing shower will cause the roads of Leeton to tremble. Imagine the asphalt carnage when precipitation actually falls to the ground. Every time it rains, it takes less than 24 hours for seemingly well-built roadways to feature craters. On corners, in the middle of the road, along the edge of the asphalt, no road is immune from the scourge of rainfall.
15. When your water storage is a source of town pride and history
ICONIC and imposing, there are several water towers dotted around the town with the majority a distinctive green colour that are crucial to the town water supply. The most prominent sit atop the hill overlooking the centre of town and feature traditional art deco tops.
16. The Roxy Theatre
ONE of the few remaining country cinemas still operating in the same building it started in. Nostalgia coupled with the latest screening technology, there is more atmosphere than every multi-plex put together. Plus, it is where generations of youngsters had their first kiss. Everyone has a Roxy memory.
17. Roundabout laws don't apply to you as a driver
ANOTHER quirk not confined to Leeton, but there seem to be an inordinate number of drivers who either don't know, or ignore roundabout rules. Age is no barrier to this one. Whether it is incorrect indication, not giving way or giving way when you shouldn't, Leeton's seven roundabouts, which should be the easiest of intersections to negotiate, manage keep all drivers on their toes.
18. Continuing a big night out at the Mia Club seemed like a good idea
NOW a distant, slightly hazy memory, the Mia Club was where everyone went when the pubs closed their doors ... because it was the only place still open. It was a ways out of town so it either meant a cab ride or a long walk, but you could continue drinking and dance away into the wee small hours, with the worry about getting home to be considered at some point even later in the night.
19. You know your home town is better than Griffith and Wagga.
WITHOUT pretensions of being the centre of the known universe, Leeton is the simply the best place to live. I mean, have you spent time there? You have everything you need within easy reach or you are just a short drive from that little bit more if you need it. Your circle of friends and acquaintances is likely to include, but is not restricted to, a doctor (medical or scientific), a builder, mechanic, farmer, solicitor, council worker, small business operator and potentially half a dozen teachers. The air is clear, there is little noise pollution and you are always only a short drive from work. Also, Leeton has no desire to be recognised as a city that still wants to label itself as just a big country town.
20. When a simple task at the shops can take hours because it feels like you have bumped into everyone you know
WHILE it is a common metropolitan misconception that everyone knows everyone else in a country town, in Leeton everyone is so friendly that people always stop for a chat or to catch up. That means going to get the milk could potentially turn into a two-hour round trip.