From the devastating 2015 Stroud floods has come an inspiring story of hope.
While Dungog's Dianne Pope was reading through the May 27, 2015 edition of the Dungog Chronicle, she came across an article titled, Fourth Chance At Life.
It told the tale of a downtrodden angus calf named Hardy, who had overcome several obstacles before finding a home as a pet on a property in Stroud. When the floods hit in April 2015, Hardy was washed down the river but was found safe eight kilometres away.
"It caught my imagination," Dianne said. "It was a symbol of hope during a devastating time."
The article inspired her to write a poem. Then she thought it might make a great storybook, but she isn't an illustrator. So, she put together a proposal and took it to the local library and art society.
What happened next is what makes living in a rural community so heart-warming.
Dianne's plight caught the attention of the library staff and one of them happened to know nearby resident, Phillipa Augl who was known to do a drawing or two. A meeting was organised for the pair at the Dungog library.
"Phillipa went home and drew the front cover," Dianne said.
And the rest is history.
It took a year from August 2017 until August 2018 for the book to go from idea to print, with the pair deciding to self-publish a children's storybook aptly named 'Hardy'.
Since then, the book has been for sale a various locations, as well as being available at Gloucester and Stroud libraries.
The pair went on a bit of book tour recently, visiting several MidCoast Libraries during the preschool storytime, where they read the book and spoke about the inspiration behind it.
This publication is a first for both Dianne and Phillipa, but the adventures for this partnership are far from over, with a new project awaiting them in the horizon. While Hardy is written for a younger audience, Dianne has a desire to create a picture for girls ages 10 to 11 years.
'Hardy' can be purchased at Gloucester Bookshop or Gloucester Visitor Information Centre.
The original article
A male angus calf born and abandoned by its mum was found at eight days old starving and covered in ticks.
It was adopted by a neighbouring farmer, who devoted many hours of patience, tender loving care, calf milk, pellets and numerous pats. The calf thrived and was named Hardy because of his determination to live. He gained a second chance in life.
At 12 months of age he was ready for market but no, he was sold as a pet and lawnmower to friends at Stroud. He continued to enjoy his daily feed, grooming and following them around the paddock. Hardy had his third chance in life.
Then disaster hit - Hardy was washed away in the recent floods at Stroud. With many hours of driving, searching and phone calls from his devoted owners - you guessed it, Hardy was found munching away in a paddock an eight kilometre road trip from his home. After hitching up the horse float, Hardy was collected and returned to his home.
Hardy now has a fourth chance at life and hopefully he will have no more adventures.
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