Take me to the river
BY Shepp Parkside Group
Shepparton is very fortunate to have many backpackers from around the world. Some people say that backpackers are a problem, others think that it’s great to have them in town, and others still don’t even know they’re there. Whichever way you look at it, the backpackers are part of the Shepparton culture with them coming in every year for fruit picking season and then dispersing out again when its over.
A group of us at The Situation here in Shepparton went and talked to them to find out what they get up to in their spare time; where they have come from; and how they feel about not only Shepparton, but Australia as a country.
Some of the backpackers have travelled to Shepparton from England, Germany, France and a plethora of other countries. It’s not only populated by foreigners however, as some have come from other states in Australia. Staying 3 to 6 months and depending on their own plans, they either leave or they proceed to get jobs. They take up a range of them too, with some getting picking and packing jobs, and others even getting into the SPC cannery.
Camping out on the river opposite Aquamoves, they have made Shepparton their home for awhile. A town of tents is set up with all the basic comforts, including skip bins provided by the council. It’s very much like an ecosystem of their own.
Along with a working force for our local farmers running orchards, they also bring other benefits, such as an economical boost, to Shepparton and surrounding areas. Most became aware of Shepparton and the harvest trail though word of mouth from friends who have travelled in the area before and flock in bulk for the experience.
They’re not all work though. They also have a wide range of talents, from playing a variety of musical instruments including guitar and bongos, to other more extreme talents like fire spinning. They share their talents amongst themselves and with any who happen to be listening, keeping each other entertained while they are not working. One backpacker introduced himself to other backpackers at the airport after noticing them carrying guitars and a friendship was formed which lead him to Shepparton.
The one thing that all of them said was that they love being in Australia, so that’s why they are here. Let’s make them feel welcome and give them an Aussie greeting. You might be surprised with what you find out.