Nestled in Wanaruah country lies a town, dotted with quaint tea shops in heritage listed buildings, threaded together by a brook that occasionally babbles too high.
Feel the energy, dark and rogue; it can not contain the stories, nor box them up inside four walls and a good tagline in the Maitland Mercury.
The Aboriginal name Murrumdoorandi refers to five – now four – rock formations, the meeting place, Five Fingers; this town has never fared so well as a meeting place for teetotallers, and it is more than the brook that babbles.
The wind whips up the valley, takes with it, icy flakes from the Worimi tops; blanketing hill-slopes that tower over the town, with dank air. It insulates noise which booms around the valley, so that Queenslanders will never hear the tales and toils of New South Welshmen. Should any sound skive the Liverpool Plains, it might tread Thunderbolts’ trail but the Kamilaroi crater at the top will catch it.
Down at the Hart, drunken rogues cackle against warped wallpaper in a shadow from the firelight; the haunting cries of Kid Hall are flung arpeggiated against thunderous skies; the town augments a chorus only sung and heard by bushrangers and bogeys.
But oh how the Wingen Maid had wailed, her broken heart ripped a seam in Burning Mountain as Bayaami turned her into stone and she cried tears of fire.
That fire still burns, moves the mountain over a steaming sulphuric coal seam which, like the brook, occasionally babbles too high.