How long until you’re a local

THE LOWIE: Katherine has lots of hidden attractions, if you don't mind the risk of crocs, but people who survive a few years seem to stick around for a lot more.
THE LOWIE: Katherine has lots of hidden attractions, if you don't mind the risk of crocs, but people who survive a few years seem to stick around for a lot more.

WE asked some respectable people of long standing in Katherine a leading question the other day.

“How long do you have to live here to be considered a local?”

It was a run-of-the-mill function, a leading question or two puts some extra sparkle in the bubbly.

A bombshell, or offensive comment risks future invites.

We have discussed in the past through these pages the quite amazing population churn in this town.

I personally compared it with sub-zero Cooma in the Snowy Mountains where people counted how long they had lived there by the number of winters they had survived.

Minus 15 or so, one month of summer – it was usually only one or two winters. Brrr.

Another sip of the champers, as my new Katherine friends pondered the question.

Free stuff courtesy of the council, lovely. Hang on, that’s my rates, grrr. Bitter after taste.

Five years, they said. After some consideration.

Five years and you could be considered a local in Katherine?

That has to be some sort of record.

Should be a marketing tool to attract new residents I reckon.

I come from a place in the Victorian Mallee where they wouldn’t even entertain the question, they probably would not have spoken to you in the first place, if you were not at least three generations born and bred.

In fact, in my home town the conversations, the people drinking beer stubbies along walls of the footy change rooms, were divided on religious grounds as well.

I was and is protestant, but my best mates were Catholic, made for an Irish impasse on occasion.

Back to Katherine, where multiple generation local folk were hard to find.

“How about so and so, he has grandkids here, so that would be three generations,” one offered.

"Yeah and there's whatshisname out the bend, he's been here a long time."

Nope, these older folk of the town had to struggle hard to find a handful of people who would be considered multi-generation.

Six months you'd still be a blow-in, a year you've survived at least one build-up.

Two years, you probably should know better.

Three years and you really should stop driving down to the bridge every time it rains to see how much the river has risen.

​Five years, you’re either troppo, you’ve become an alderman, or love running around with a belly full of booze on Friday night playing rugby and having the time of your life.