Adrienne Pickering on Growing Up in Warwick


The Offspring actor shares her childhood memories of hometown Warwick, in the Darling Downs farming district south-west of Brisbane. As told to Angie Kelly.

What are your fondest memories of Warwick?

I did a lot of horseriding when I was growing up and I have a really clear memory of coming home at twilight and walking my horse, Bacardi, up our long driveway into the backyard. I’d feed him and hose him down and Dad would be out there feeding the other animals. I could hear the clatter of my five brothers and sisters in the house and could smell what Mum was cooking for dinner. 

So you were a real country kid?

Yeah, we had three paddocks with horses, and a couple of sheep and cats, too. All six of us went to a school with only about 100 kids called the School of Total Education. It was very tight-knit and went from kindergarten to Year 12 so I was with the same group of kids all the way through. But it always felt like Warwick was growing – there were hairdressers and pubs on every corner.

What took you away?  

I moved to Brisbane to study science and arts but quickly changed to the full-time acting course at Queensland University of Technology. Growing up in Warwick, there wasn’t a sense of reality around the fact that acting could be a job so it took me a while to work out what to do.

How often do you go back?

All of us try to get back at Christmas. We’re very close and it’s a good time to be home. Summer in Warwick gets really hot – Christmas Day can be 40°C. We’re lucky enough to have a pool so we spend all day in our togs, jump in the water every hour and sit talking under the trees.

Has it changed much?

There are more shops now and places to eat with food that’s a step up from fish ’n’ chips. My sister told me there’s a pub called The Malt House that opened in the old KFC building – but she said she thinks it’s too fancy for Warwick! 

What’s your favourite thing to do there now?  

I like to visit the Bluebird Kitchen for delicious food sourced from around the district and real coffee. A family favourite is a swimming hole at Boonoo Boonoo Falls [115 kilometres south of Warwick]. We make a point of going there for a walk and a swim and, if I’m brave enough, I’ll jump from one of the rocks into a deep waterhole.

Name something about Warwick that you think would surprise outsiders.

People don’t think you can get sub-zero temperatures so close to Brisbane. I remember having to crack our horses’ water because it had frozen overnight.

What three things should visitors do?

There’s a walk along the Condamine River, not far from the main street; when I go home, I jog there. Girraween National Park [south of Warwick] is gorgeous with really dramatic granite landscapes. It’s popular for hiking and bushwalking. And the Warwick Rodeo in October is famous – there are balls and the whole town comes out for it. I try to get to it every now and then.

SEE ALSO: Dave Hughes on Growing Up in Warrnambool

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