Back in 1999 I received the Henry Lawson Journalism Award, which at that stage was part of the annual Henry Lawson Festival in beautiful Gulgong, in the New South Wales central west. This national award recognised excellence in rural journalism.
My entry was a series of three articles on the decline of railways in rural and regional Australia. Several things struck me as I was researching and writing these articles: lots of people had connections to the railways, which were once a major source of employment in country towns; there was a great sense of nostalgia associated with railways—trains and train travel brought back happy memories for many people; and the decline in train services was part of a much broader decline in services for many rural centres.
Unfortunately, the Henry Lawson Journalism Award went the way of many country railways and was discontinued in the early 2000s! This was about the time country journalism (and journalism generally) started to lose ground to digital publishing and social media.
You can read my articles on the decline of country rail services by clicking here.