I remember my first day in Katherine vividly.
I was very wet, covered in a mix of sticky sweat, rainwater and tears.
I had just lobbed in the middle of nowhere with no friends, no family and no clue.
One of the first people I met here was Mayor Fay Miller. She told me when she first moved here, she had no plans of staying long. Fast forward 30 years and she’s the mayor. I thought she must be bonkers.
To me Katherine held little appeal, apart from the job of course. I mean there wasn’t even a KFC.
But with each interview I did, my love for Katherine grew and grew.
The people that make up the heart and soul of this place inspired me.
From people like June Tapp, the unofficial matriarch of this town, who always have a cause they are rallying behind.
To the RAAF personnel who dedicate their lives to serving our country.
And the original Katherinites – the Aboriginal people who have shared their land and culture with the rest of the community.
My short affair with Katherine has been like a cheesy romantic comedy. Hated her at face value, until I got to know all of her wonders, and now I am in love.
Many young people flock to Katherine to start their careers in health, education, social work and so on.
The high turnover of young people makes the town an easy place to fit in and make friends fast.
But like many before me, it is time to say goodbye, and I am heartbroken. Surely the Katherine Times is one of the best places on earth to start a career as a journalist.
There are plenty of stories bubbling away under the surface to sink your teeth into. And lots of adventures to be had.
I have been croc hunting with rangers, met pop stars and agricultural legends, cuddled kangaroos, been nearly run down by a bull at a rodeo, visited some of the most remote parts of Australia, had backstage passes, been in lockdown on Australia’s largest airforce base, flown in helicopters and had my name on the front page.
Katherine is a unique place, a special place. It has ample life, fight and creativity. The people of Katherine deserve to be heard and valued by our politicians and media. So never settle. Keep on fighting for what is yours, and keep celebrating every success story.