Archive for February, 2012

240. Sunday 26th February 2012. We saw more at Seymour and lots of other places…

27/02/2012

008 Monday 20th February.

A Feast of Photos this week.

The week begins…

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Nothing to report.

This is the best way to plan a trip. Cheese, crackers, wine, maps and brochures.

Thursday 23rd February

The CO-PILOT  has 6 days off and we planned to get away in WWWGO to visit new places. An early departure was planned but as things always work against me in these matters we left our camp at Culcairn at 3.30 pm. We drove the Olympic Highway until it linked with the Hume Freeway and drove through Albury, Wodonga, Wangaratta and points south in the direction of Melbourne although that was not our destination. We left the highway to look at the pretty town of Benalla and a Freedom campsite for the night. The CO-PILOT is a fully qualified, black belt, ALDI Stores spotter. True to her amazing talents she found an Aldi and we stopped to look for groceries we did not need. We failed to find the campsite although the GPs took us to the correct dirt track in the middle of nowhere. I decided to push on as the potholed road narrowed. There was nowhere to turn around and no signs of human habitation anywhere. Eventually we came across a narrow sealed road and with the help of the GPS followed several back-roads, finally emerging on the Freeway. We turned off for another pretty town called Violet Town and once again could not locate the freedom campsite. As it was getting dark we called into the sports centre and stopped in a rear car-park and settled down for the night.

Friday 24th February

We were on our way by 8am with the plan being to arrive at Seymour and then on to Puckapunyal Army Base by 10am.

Entrance to Puckapunyal Army Barracks and Training Centre.

I was based at Puckapunyal in 1968 being trained in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, eventually being posted to A squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment at Holsworthy near Sydney. The unit was dissolved in early 1967 becoming A Squadron 2ndCavalry Regiment.

The flag of A Squadron 2 Cavalry Regiment

My training started out in Saladan Armoured cars,

I learned gunnery on the 76mm cannon mounted on the Saladan Armoured Car.

Ferret Scout cars,

I learned radio technique and remote controlled rocket launchers in the Ferret Scout Car.

Centurion Tanks

On the Centurion Tank, all 52 tons of raw power I learned to find a good foot hold and somewhere to grab with two hands and hang on!

and M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers

The M113A Armoured Personnel Carrier. Comprised a Driver and a Crew Commander. who also controlled the radio communications and whatever firepower was attached to a particular vehicle.

where I became a Crew Commander Gunner/Signaller.

The M113A carried a crew of up to 12 Storm Troopers.

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2nd_Cavalry_Regiment_%28Australia%29    note the item about the unit mascot, a Wedgetail Eagle called Trooper Courage. My army buddy, Noel L was the mascot keeper and trainer and I had the honour of being involved when time permitted)

Puckapunyal now has an Armour Museum   http://www.armytankmuseum.com.au/i-intro.htm   which houses 90 tanks and other armour vehicles which were of interest to me and to a certain degree, the CO-PILOT.  We arrived at the base and were issued with a visitor pass, which allowed us to drive directly to the museum, do not pass GO do not collect $200.

Just outside the entrance to the Armour Museum are a number of solid metal plates somne 25mm thick, others only 12.5mm thick. Armour piercing shells are still embedded inside the metal plates. It proves that even with armour, it is no guarantee of safety.

Of course the base has changed dramatically in the last 45 years but enough has remained the same to bring back memories. When being discharged from the Army in March 1968 I was asked by the commanding officer if I wanted to sign on for another term of 7 years. Of course the answer was no. I have often wondered what course my life would have taken if I remained in the Army. I did enjoy my time while in service so staying would not have been alien to me. The regimentation and discipline appealed to me.

The museum, as you could expect covers a huge area on the base and many exhibits allows you to stand in, on or try the equipment.

Getting inside the crew commander cramped turret is just as difficult now as it was then.

An original Furphy Water Cart was on display.

An original Furphy Water Tank.

See the web page for a full explanation.

http://www.furphys.com.au/history/the-famous-furphy-water-cart.html

After a late lunch after walking around Seymour we decided to drive the Goulburn Valley Highway to Shepparton and stay the night there. Before leaving I saw the Royal Hotel where I was plied with beer on my 21stbirthday and became very drunk.

The Royal Hotel, Seymour, Victoria.

The afternoon was oppressively hot and although Shepparton was worth a visit, there were no Freedom campsites nearby so we pushed on towards Echuca on the Murray River, the historical once third busiest port in Australia. We found a Freedom campsite, Christies Beach,

Campsite at Christie Beach on the banks of the Murray River near Echuca.

on the banks of the Murray River about 10klms from Echuca. It was a magical spot and the evening was still hot.

Relaxing on the banks of Christie Beach. Hmmm! Did I mention there were speedboats and skiers as well?

A houseboat cruised slowly past our campsite as evening drifted into night.

Houseboat on the Murray (actually there are hundreds of them)

Our view in the morning.

In places the Murray creates flooded backwaters.

Saturday 25th February

What the!!?? Who knits coats for trees?

Echuca turned out to be a pleasant surprise

Echuca Uniting Church

Echuca Catholic Church

and one of the first things we did, after taking a walk around the main shopping area, was to find the historical port.

Entrance to the Port of Echuca

Mostly it has been retained in the era for when it was famous.

Echuca street scene.

Echuca Jetty. Poor quality phone camera pix.

I was excited to take a cruise on a real wood fired steam engine paddle wheeler. The steamer was the fully restored PS Alexander Arbuthnot.  http://www.echucamoama.com/ps-alexander-arbuthnot

The Paddle Steamer Alexander Arbuthnot

Boiler on Alexander Arbuthnot. Photo quality is poor due to being taken with a phone camera.

A funny but potentially serious incident occurred during the cruise. The deckhand, Darren, was on the dock at a winery escorting passengers ashore. As he was untying the PS ready to jump aboard, the engineer put the PS into gear and pulled Darren into the water. The skipper did not see the incident and it was several minutes before he was able to berth and pick up his sodden deckhand with a ruined mobile phone.

A sodden and very unhappy deckhand, Darren. The photo quality is due to photos taken on the mobile phone.

Of course none of the boat trip was recorded as our camera battery died as we were waiting on the dock. The spare battery was in the camera bag back in WWWGO. I was forced to use the mobile phone camera.

PS Billy Tea.

The PS Canberra.

The PS Emmy Lou.

The day was oppressively hot again with temps pushing around 40° and much too hot to be camped beside the river in a Freedom campsite. We chose a caravan park where we could have a swim and turn on the AC in WWWGO.

Sunday 6th February

It was another hot day although with 50% cloud cover, not as hot as yesterday. After attending a service at the Catholic Church we once again took a walk around the Port of Echuca, stopping at the Beechworth Bakery for coffee and baked goodies. We also bought a loaf of 96 hour sourdough rye bread which they sliced for us. The smell of that bread lingered in WWWGO all day and during the night. Yum.

The jetty is being restored. Most of the old timbers are stored nearby, sizes and dimensions written on them.

Echuca Stagecoach

We enjoyed a simple lunch at a restaurant built on the river walk and watched the paddle steamers and other boats as they cruised by. Our simple lunch consisted of a piece of delicious Triple Cream Brie cheese accompanied by sourdough bread and a plate of duck dim sims with sweet soy sauce and coriander salad. All this was washed down with tall glasses of icy cold James Squires Dark Ale. That simple but filling lunch was enough for us to enjoy two hours on the deck before driving the Murray Valley Highway through several small towns until we reached Cobram on the Murray. Our Camps book indicated a spot along the river bank would be suitable for camping. The dirt track meandered through Red River Gums along the river bank.

Campsite near Cobram.

Cormorant (or Shag) in traditional Cormorant pose.

Finding a spot not beneath one of these widow-makers proved more difficult than expected. After a walk along the river track we enjoyed a hot shower and dinner of chilli and sourdough rye bread.

About 9.30 pm I could see an approaching electrical storm which although a constant spectacular lightning display could mean lots of heavy rain and we did not want to be caught on greasy clay tracks under the trees should the storm reach us. So it was during a dark night we left our camp site following the track to the entrance of Cobram Regional Park where we stopped for the night in an area relatively cleared of trees. We watched the distant lightning display before drifting off to sleep.

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239. Sunday 19th February 2012. Culcairn and Howlong (is a piece of string?)…

19/02/2012

We have a generous helping of photographs this week.

Some comments from readers would be appreciated.

Monday 13th February
It was a hot day and the CO-PILOT  went to work on the night shift. Otherwise we stayed in camp and did several loads of washing and relaxed.
Tuesday 14th February
The CO-PILOT  came home from work and went to bed. I did a load of washing, emptied the black water cassette, filled the fresh water tank and on the CO-PILOT ‘s suggestion I drove to Albury to see a movie and do some grocery shopping.
I was looking forward to seeing the Star Wars Episode 1 in 3D. Now the alternate name of The Phantom Menace and with Ewan McGregor in a lead role I should have been forewarned. This was just a 3D enhanced version  of an older movie where Anakin Skywalker is introduced as a “Pod” racer. Maybe I did not read the reviews closely enough. In a nutshell I was hugely disappointed to pay $14 for a movie I had already seen and the 3D effects were nowhere near as good as I have come to expect and nowhere near as good as the trailers for upcoming movies. Perhaps the other 6 people in the theatre felt as ripped off as I was. Dunno, cause I did not speak with any of them.
Grrr!
Wednesday 15th February
After a cool morning ( we are shaded by tall River Red Gums until about 11am) it turned into a hot day. The CO-PILOT slept until mid-afternoon.
Apart from my usual chores around the camp I decided to try something new.  In any sort of camping situation you can never have enough guy ropes, complete with spring and timber runner. I have one guy rope with neither spring nor runner. (a legacy of the dogs on the farm at Finch Hatton, I suppose the runner looked like a bone) I also have one guy rope with no spring. That was an easy one to fix as I had bought a pack of springs when in Albury on Monday.  Finding a piece of suitable timber from a fallen branch I cut, filed and drilled a runner and made a complete guy rope. Great!

Here is my handiwork making a guy rope from rope I braided myself and timber from a fallen River Red Gum branch.

I was so pleased with that effort I made another runner, using a piece of rope I had made when we camped at Finch Hatton. I made a complete guy, including rope, spring and runner.
I cooked a couple of 25mm thick fillet steaks for dinner. I used the cast iron griddle on the handy butane stove. The steaks were liberally sprinkled with ground pepper. They were melt in your mouth yummo tasty steaks. I can never understand why people and restaurants need to use steak knives. If you use a quality steak and cook it correctly a good steak with need the minimum of gentle cutting.
I must again make comment about our $40 Dick Smith Personal Video Recorder which saves to an external hard drive. Using a local TV guide I selected a week of movies and or TV series. I then programmed the PVR allowing an extra 10 minutes for the finish time in case programs are running late. The PVR turns on and off as required and when we want a movie it is so easy to use. Apart from the small price tag the unit is small and fits into WWWGO without any problems, not like a big DVD Recorder.
Thursday16th February.
Not much to report today. I had so much fun and enjoyment making the guy rope yesterday, I decided to make another. This time it was a double. It was overcast all day and I could hear thunder in the distance. Twice during the day light rain fell. In the evening the thunder got closer but no rain.
Friday 17th February
The CO-PILOT  is on afternoon shift and has a 1pm start. We have been having our main meal at midday so we can still have a meal together and any leftovers she can take to the hospital for her evening mail.
Today I cooked a rolled pork rib roast, stuffed with umm err, stuffing, including mushrooms, almonds and cranberries. Our $40 turbo oven special cooked the pork to perfection. I set it on a lower heat and cooked it for two hours, turning once. I brought out my beautiful carving knife and the slices just rolled off the jointed in perfect increments. The CO-PILOT  had been given a butternut pumpkin earlier in the week so I placed several fat chunks in the turbo oven at half time. At three quarter time I placed several broccoli heads, wrapped in foil with a little water, into the turbo as well.  All was cooked as melt in your mouth and tasty. As long as we are here and have power the turbo oven will be used often. Once we leave and are self-sufficient once more and the weather gets colder, we will use the on-board gas oven.
I have started to get back into my routine of a brisk walk first thing in the morning.

A tree lined Culcairn street.

The walks are usually about 2 klms and I get the opportunity to look around most of the streets of Culcairn.

Interesting sign in Culcairn.

We are probably in one of the best locations in town. We are beside the Billabong Creek, the toilets and showers are a 50 metre walk up a small hill, we have power and water and the shopping is only a 250 metre walk away.

A dozen times a day these goods trains roar through the Culcairn Crossing.

In the afternoon the clouds rolled in, thunder thundered and rain, big drops of rain, fell, but despite the huff n puff the rain was only short lived although the thunder persisted a bit longer.
Saturday 18th February
The CO-PILOT  was a little late getting home last night as an elderly cancer ridden patient died. She cleaned the body to be presentable to family and all she wanted to do when she came home was to take a long, hot, cleansing shower. Although his death was expected it is still not a pleasant task to clean up the body and bed sheets afterwards.
The CO-PILOT , as expected, slept in until 11am especially as she had difficulty falling asleep last night.
I took my usual walk and photographed unusual letter boxes

Interesting letterbox. Note the intricate cast iron lacework in the background.

Close up of the cast iron lace.

and noticed a fixer upper house for sale.
Only $60,000.
Hmmm! Do we want a house at Culcairn? It is off the beaten track although close to the city of Albury it is nowhere near the ocean which is where we want to be. Besides we already have our two houses near the sea at Airlie Beach and Bucasia Beach. After working at fixing up Errol’s house in Mackay and helping to get the new house in Corrimal ready to move into, I am not sure if I want a fixer upper.
At least not in Culcairn. I am sure the Henty hospital would welcome the CO-PILOT  with open arms.
Still, I have a good collection of tools in Airlie Beach and if we found a suitable fixer upper somewhere near the coast between Sydney and Brisbane, we could be tempted.
Anybody know of such a house?
Preferred locations, travelling north from Sydney would be,
Toukley
Forster
Bonnie Hills
Nambucca
Sawtell
Yamba
Ballina

Another letterbox (dysfunctional?)

Ned Kelly letterbox.

Cooked a Tandoori Chicken in the turbo oven so we could have a meal together before the CO-PILOT  went to work.
Sunday 19th February
Gee, the last month has flown by.
The CO-PILOT  has a night shift tonight so that gives us a full day to have a look around the district.
First we headed west to the little town of Walbundrie which has a few interesting old buildings,

Placque commenemorating the 100th anniversary of the original school building.

How did they manage to pack 60 students in this building? Students from different grades and only one teacher!! Current teachers winge if they have thirty students in the class.

Closeup of the 140 year old rough hewn white granite "bricks".

Walbundrie Pub. Note the For Sale sign. Even though it was a hot Sunday morning and there are cars parked outside, the pub was not open for business although a sign advertsied evening meals Friday & Saturday nights only.

then  I was surprised to find we then turned to the south to the town of Brockelsby and from there to Howlong.  (Gee I can’t help myself Howlong did it take to drive there? OR Howlong did we stay? OR Howlong did we wait to be served?) The first two towns were small with little general stores. We expected Howlong would be the same.

An early building in Howlong, the Mechanics Institute.

Approaching the town we were gobsmacked to see a green green green golf course and a full car park including several tourist buses. In town the smart new bakery was doing a roaring trade and across the street at the Court House Hotel,

The Courthouse Hotel at Howlong. The dining room was beautifully lined with timber and the tables had white starched tablecloths and silverware. Very elegant.

When we left the bakery we this Porsche parked next to TERIOS.

the timber panelled old silver service dining room was also packing people in. Howlong is a far larger and busier town than we expected. I did not realise the town is on the Murray River and by crossing the bridge into the state of Victoria there was a pleasant spot beside the river.

Picnic at Howlong on the Murray River.

Turn left to the boat ramp and No Camping signs. Turn right and there are several spots for free camping beside the river. Back in town at Coronation Park is the same deal. No camping near the boat ramp but follow the dirt track 150m to the right and there is free camping. All along the river are the absolutely, stately, wonderful, gorgeous, awesome, downright dangerous River Red Gums.

Magnificent River Red Gums.

Another River Red Gum.

Be aware these trees can shed a limb without notice and the limbs are often big enough to flatten a car. OR a motorhome or caravan parked beneath. The story is these trees shed limbs when heat stressed in summer. When it is raining or windy they seem OK. My rule is anytime is a good time to avoid parking or camping beneath them. Their canopy spreads very wide. So as much as I love these trees I also have a healthy respect for them especially as their nickname is WIDOWMAKERS.

Take a gander at the size of this recently falled limb.

I had not consulted a map before we left but soon discovered it was quicker to drive to Albury and turn off along the Riverina Highway. That is the way we will go next time as we explore other Murray River towns of Corowa NSW and Rutherglen Yarrawonga in Victoria.
We were bad people today, both having a pie with salad for lunch and followed up with a simply decadent Vanilla Slice which had a chocolate icing and a layer of cream on top of the vanilla.
While rubber necking our way around the campsite on the Victorian side of the Murray River at Howlong we met a couple from Finley, Frank n Carol. They own and manage a sort of retirement home. To escape their seven day a week job they allocate a weekend away in their caravan. They come to Howlong and camp and veg out for two days to unwind.

Despite this hollow trunk and fire blackened interior, this tree is still alive.

Although it was a longer drive than anticipated we saw a lot of new territory of rolling hills, flat prairie like areas and the lushness around the swift flowing Murray.
There were people with a small boat towing children on an inflatable rubber ring. With the many fallen trees and branches sticking up out the water I thought it was not a good idea especially with a 7 knot current. It looked like fun but we were pleased that no incidents occurred while were there. However a man on a catamaran with many fittings and all his food and luggage for a 3,000 klm traverse to the Murray River mouth, took a wrong turn this week, hit a submerged tree  and capsized after only 7 klm. He lost all except the  catamaran which was badly damaged in one hull.

Hmmm!

I keep saying, “the more we see the more there is to see”.

In the middle of Howlong we saw this small yard with a Bull, a sheep, a chicken, a rooster and several chicks. Talk about a farm yard.

238. Sunday 12th February 2012. Culcairn & Henty NSW then we visit Victoria and meet up with Ned Kelly near the Alps…

13/02/2012

Lots of photos this week.

Monday 6th February

The CO-PILOT slept in again this morning. Those night shifts disorientated her somewhat. Today & tomorrow are afternoon shifts followed by two morning shifts. Then three days off. Hmmm! Perhaps we should start planning a weekend away.

Starting in the morning I boiled up a ham bone in preparation for making a wonderful Pea and Ham soup. Apart from that I did the usual things around camp. Top up fresh water tank, empty toilet cassette, hang out laundry, bring it in, fold and put away. Prepare meals.

I did spend an hour on the phone with Computer DenCity to solve a few issues as mentioned in the last post.

To his credit he solved the Activation issue and the microphone issue but did not solve the cursor jumping around when typing nor the loss of address book or lost Firefox bookmarks.

The techy promised to call back later in the morning to solve those for me.

Tuesday 7th February

The techy never called back yesterday.

I solved the issue of the cursor jumping around. The touchpad settings were set to allow both mouse and touchpad to operate at the same time. I turned that option OFF. Problem solved.

The CO-PILOT had another evening shift so I dined on leftover Pea n Ham soup, alone.

Wednesday 8th February

The weather has been a bit strange. Last week the temps ranged from 35 to 41 during the day with humidity around the same. At night we need the AC on or at the very least a fan. The mornings turned cool and stays cool until early afternoon when the temp climbs to 30. At night we have needed two blankets and are talking about bringing out the doona.

The CO-PILOT left for work at 6.30 am and it was a round of washing, cleaning spider-webs, running WWWGO for 5 minutes, vacuuming and generally being houseproud.

Errol called mid-afternoon to advise he will be flying into Wagga Wagga this evening and if we could drive up we could have dinner together. On the drive to WW we stopped at a level crossing to allow a goods train to pass through. Once back on the highway we were keeping up with the train. The road to WW is mostly straight and follows the train line (hmmm or does the train line follow the road?).  That was in interesting 40 or so klms.

Errol was late arriving but we went to the Thirsty Crow Brewery   (http://www.thirstycrow.com.au/ ) a boutique brewery located in WW. Errol is a regular visitor to the town as he is a Qantas Link pilot. He has wanted to dine at the brewery since it opened in 2011. The interesting thing about the brewery and bar is the brewery part is open to view from the bar/dining area. I said to the man serving us “It must be a tough day working in the brewery all day then having to serve at the bar at night? He reply was, “it is tougher than you think, I have to do taste testing as well”!

We had pizza. Not ordinary pizza. No. Quirky pizza which goes well with several of their beers including the Murder Pils  (Malts: Pilsener, CaraPils Hops: Crap load of Saaz! Yeast: Bohemian & Urquell Our first Lager and we didn’t hold back – 6.4% and a huge burst of hops were added to give this beer a massive spicy & floral flavour. The Murder Pils will soon become year round and it will be toned down next time around (we just felt like doing a heavy duty version of it first time!). By the way regarding the name; we’re not psychotic – Murder is what a flock of Crows are called and Pils is short for Pilsner) which Errol and I tried. The CO-PILOT  tried the White Rabbit Dark Ale (, ABV: 4.9% Raisin like ester characters derived through their open fermentation bind a balancing act of flavour with a malt bill that rewards the parched palette with a rich, dark colour without losing any sessionabilty qualities. Passed through a hop back generously laden with whole hop flowers and then dry hoped in the open fermenters, at 4.9% abv this is a dark ale with plenty of reassuring bitterness.)

The first pizza we tried was the Thai Chicken – Coconut Chicken, Shallots, Cashews, Green Curry Paste, Mozzarella, Lime and Coriander. Phew great pizza but fiery hot and a good thing we had the beer to cool off. Next pizza was the Steak Sanga – Seasoned Rump, Onion Jam, Bacon, Tomato, Beetroot, Mozzarella and Barbeque Sauce. That one was delightful and I could have eaten it all by myself.

We left WW just before 10pm and once again on a straight stretch of road we found ourselves travelling in synch with a goods train as it ghosted along in the moonlight. The only lights were in the lead engine. We enjoyed our evening away and recommend if you are ever in WW to drop into the Thirsty Crow Brewery.

Thursday 9th February

Slept all night but woke with a headache. I am sure it was something I drank last night. The heavy duty Murder Pils with a 6.4% alcohol rating and the double extra hops is probably what did it.

Just after I hung out the washing I thought I could hear thunder in the distance. By 9am I could see black clouds approaching from the west. By 10 I was scrambling to get the washing off the line as the wind had picked up, thumb sized raindrops were falling as were the tree leaves and thunder crashing all around. Inside WWWGO it was as dark as night.

The power went out and the temperature dropped.
When the power came back, so did the sunlight and the washing dried.

About 4pm the wind picked up, black clouds rolled in and the ominous roll of thunder heralded another round of a storm. This one was much bigger than in the morning. With the heavy rain came marble sized hail and the CO-PILOT arrived home as the hail began and had to sit in the car waiting out the storm.

By 7pm the sun was out and the sky was clear.

The weather forecast for tomorrow is more of the same.

Sigh!!!

Friday 10th February

After the CO-PILOT  had a long sleep in we lunched on the left over Pea n Ham Soup and drove to Albury.  Along the way a feature known as the Black Range resembles a dark high hill and the highway runs parallel with it for the full length. At the southern end is a feature called Table Top

Lower end of the Black Ranges and the bottom edge of a feature called Table Top. The town of Table Top is perhaps 15 klms away on flat plains. The feature once belonged to the property also called Table Top Station. The town and scholl house were original part of that property.

which cannot be seen coming from the north along both the Hume and Olympic Highways. On the return trip from Albury the end of the range at Table Top shows up as appearing like a huge quarry (which it isn’t) The afternoon setting sun shows the feature in the best light.

While in Albury we visited the museum and drove around a few streets enjoying the old houses most of which were in very good condition. I suppose the original Albury High School is one of the most impressive school buildings either of us has seen in a long time.                                  http://www.albury-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/home

Many buildings in Albury are heritage listed including the high school.

After leaving the museum we walked downtown for some window shopping and were impressed by the range of shops and their wares. By now the afternoon black clouds were rolling in accompanied by wind, thunder, lightning and rain. Culcairn received more than Albury but it was not long before the clouds rolled away and sunlight and warmth returned.

Saturday 11th February

What the!!! The CO-PILOT slept in until 11.15am. Why didn’t you wake me she called? I figured she must need her sleep.

After a very late breakfast we drove the 16 klms to Henty for the Annual Henty Agricultural Show.

People gathered under every bit of shade to watch the outdoor events.

(for our overseas readers, particularly those in the US of A and Canada, a Show is something like your County Fair) We have been to rural shows before, such as Proserpine and Finch Hatton, both in Queensland. This show was a pale comparison and only lasted until 4pm. From comments we heard, exhibition numbers and crowd numbers were down on previous years. Still we enjoyed walking around and looking at the exhibits of produce,

This bit of Produce Art won first prize.

poultry, sheep, dogs and cows. Cooking and crafts were also featured along with a show and shine and an old machinery section.

An old Chevrolet tray top pick-up. Forerunner to the ute perhaps?

Hmmm! This could be an early model, horse drawn motorhome?

When we arrived, the judges were feeling their way through the wool competition. The prized sheep had been shorn and the fleece boxed up and sent off to the show. We have no idea how the scoring system works but we soon noticed the different textures, lengths, colour, fine or coarse umm err grain of the wool.  The other noticeable thing about the wool was the amount of oil (lanolin)it contains. The soft sprongy feel and the neither hot nor cold feel of the fleece as your hands delve into the depths.  What a wonderful insulating material. That is why our WWWGO & TERIOS have genuine lambs-wool  seat covers. Even on the hottest day in full sunlight, those seat covers are situponable(my word…just made it up) not like say vinyl or plastic or leather. Even on those days when the steering wheel is too hot to touch, at least we can sit on our seat covers.

One of the junk food vending vans had this outdoor spray cooling device. Crowds flocked to his van for a cooling spray while waiting to be served.

The show jumping

The Show Jumping is always impressive. I have no idea of the rules but it is always good to watch.

was very well attended and I really enjoyed the photo competition. We also saw a whip cracking competition (where only one person brought a whip and everybody else borrowed it) and a sheaf throwing competition where bags of chaff were used instead of wheat sheafs. No wood-chopping, no ring events, no show bags and no madding crowds.

This girl put on a hula hoop display. She finally had 20 hoops gyrating around her body. It was hot work especially outside in the sunlight.

There was only a couple of junk food outlets including a permanent structure which sold chips, sausage, steak or rissole sangers (sandwich to our overseas readers).

The CWA (Country Womens Association) provided a 2 course lunch for $12 OR Devonshire Tea for $5.50. For $5.50 you had a choice of several cakes or a small plate of sandwich quarters plus a couple of sweet slices. The bonus with CWA was they also provided tables and chairs in the cool of the agricultural building. The tables all had posies of fresh flowers. Easier than standing around trying to juggle a sanger, chips and drink.

The original Henty Central Hotel now a Bed & Breakfast.

Stables attached to the original Hednty Central Hotel. The stables are beginning to fall down.

Sunday 12th February

Today was a long day of driving, exploring and walking.

First we drove through Albury and over the Murray River to Victoria and on to Wodonga. The Mighty Murray is not so wide at this point but is very deep with a swift current.

From there we drove to Yackandandah

The tree lined main street of Yackandandah.

Yackandandah has retained the granite guttering through its roadways. (Beechworth where we also visited has also retained the same type of gutters)

which is often called the gateway to the Victorian Alps. In fact several of the ski locations are accessed through Yac and the Alpine Way begins in this area. Although Yac is not officially in the mountains it is in the foothills and gets mighty cold and snows during the winter. Yac (I am using the abbreviated affectionate name for Yackandandah used by the locals…in fact the local paper is called Yackity Yac) is an old town and most of it is still old buildings

Original white granite (yes I know, it looks pink) buildings all throughout the business and wider community of Yackandandah.

The original owner of this building, had to multi task between funerals. Besides being an Undertaker he was also a Taxi service, agent for a Headstone Maker, deivered gas to homes and goodness knows what else.

with new businesses operating. We were very naughty and had pastries for morning tea and then grilled fish for lunch. (actually I had a local burger made with a home-made meat pattie).

We had our decadent chocolate eclairs and coffee in the Yacandandah Bandstand. Note all the timbers are dressed except for the cross bracing which is raw timber.

After wandering around Yac for a couple of hours all agog at all the old buildings

The original Yackandandah Library is now the Information Centre.

The original Service Station and Garage now houses and Arty things shop, a hand made rainforest timber furniture store and a handmade guitar and music shop.

we drove to Beechworth where the infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly was tried, found guilty and executed.

One of many, many artistic paintings, sculptures, old newspaper cuttings and various representations of Ned Kelly found around the town of Beechworth.

This town is higher up in the mountains than Yac.

Wow! Here is another heritage town with so many heritage buildings just oozing with history.

Old bank at intersection. Noted the bank, the roundabout, the kerb, guttering and pedestrian crosssings are all White Granite.

Some driveways were also White Granite. This one appeared old enough to be original.

First we went to Beechworth Prison and had just missed a tour and had a two hour wait for the next. http://www.beechworthonline.com.au/accom_result1/beechworth-gaol-unlocked/

Beechworth Prison. De-commissioned and vacated in 2004 it is now open for tours.

Main Beechworth Prison Courtyard.

One of 6 Beechworth Prison Guard Towers. Access to the tower was gained via an internal staircase with entrance outside the prison.

I still cannot get my head around the history of Ned Kelly. It seems he has become a heroic folk legend a sort of Robin Hood of Australia. The pro Ned Kelly people paint him as a poor misunderstood badly treated young man who had no other options in life. In reality he was a thug, a bully and a bad tempered alcohol fuelled criminal who knew what he was doing and took what he wanted with force and paid the ultimate price.

Artillery piece outside the RSL Club.

Another, later artillery piece outside the RSL Club.

From there we went down the street, visiting the original telegraph office and the courthouse

Ned Kelly was kept in a cell while being tried at the Beechworth Courthouse.

where Ned was tried. There is a row of historical buildings here and each has a mini museum.

A local horse drawn historical tour around Beechworth.

We walked up one side of the street and down the other,

Commercial Hotel Beechworth still doing a roaring trade.

visiting the Beechworth Honey Company and saw their live bee display.

Oh! We visited the famous Beechworth Bakery and were good girls n boys by looking and not buying anything. They had a Ned Kelly pie which I was almost salivating over but managed to drag myself away.

The historical Beechworth Cemetery dates back 150 years and has a huge Chinese section where over 2,000 Chinese are interred

The Chinese section of Beechworth Cemetry. Most graves were unmarked or contain multiple bodies.

and a pair of Burning Towers over 100 years old are erected.

Information re the Burning Towers and the Chinese Graves.

Chinese Burning Towers.

Although getting later in the afternoon we drove to Woolshed Falls

The angle of the photo does not really show the drop or the size of these falls. Whden we arrived there were a dozen or so people lounging around in the pools and slides above the main falls.

This boy and his companion hesitated and had several false starts before finally making this leap. Once on the other side he had no hesitation in jumping back again.

on the road to Chiltern. We were surprised at the height of the falls as well as the rock afrea. Driving there felt like we were on a flat plain with no drops sufficient for a waterfall.

We were not using the GPS at this stage we discovered there are few but confusing signs showing the way out of Chiltern (another old town locked in the past but we were running out of time to explore) We sort of got lost and crossing a railway crossing we noticed a couple of car loads of people at the crossing with their cameras and telephoto lenses. Hmmm! Perhaps there is a special train coming through which is worthy of a photo. So I joined in with my camera. Special Train! Naaah. Just a regular two engine diesel pulling a load of what appear to be fuel containers.

The trainspeeding through the crossing at Chiltern. The bow wave and noise were enough to make me move further away from the line.

We arrived home in time for dinner and a hot shower after a long day and over 240 klms of travel.

We are really enjoying looking around the towns and seeing the changes in country as the elevation  changes. That is our reason for our travels and the more we see the more there is to see.

237. Sunday 5th February 2012. Culcairn and we discover Albury…

05/02/2012

Monday 30th January

Spoke with the laptop repairers who believe the hard drive was not correctly installed – by them – and they will re-install if I bring it in. So I drove the 72 klms to Wagga to deliver the laptop. I was quite annoyed and explained to the repairers that I did not want to have to re-install the programs again. This time they have promised to do a “Phantom” transfer of all data AND programmes.

After a couple of hours I called back expecting to collect the laptop.

Nooooo. It does not work that way.

It seems that after the re-installation the “Phantom” transfer will take overnight. Instead, as it was their error, they promised to send it by courier to the caravan park in the morning.

GRRRR!

Tuesday 31st January

I spoke with the laptop repairer who has confirmed the hard drive was re-installed and a phantom transfer of programs and data completed. He promised it would be delivered to the courier for delivery tomorrow.

Wednesday 1st February.

The CO-PILOT  arrived home at breakfast time after completing her first ever night shift. No problems. She went to bed and I waited around for most of the morning for the delivery of the laptop. Just in case, I called the repairer and good thing I did. The laptop was still sitting on the bench waiting for me to collect it!!! After a hissy fit on my part he agreed to take it to the courier before 10am. The laptop arrived just after midday. Within an hour I discovered the internet was still abysmally slow, the microphone still does not work and a call to the repairer – twice – was given a promise they would call back. So far no call back.  In the afternoon I connected the iTouch, the iPad and the laptop to the Gateway Modem. The service was slower on all three.

Hmmm!

Perhaps there is a problem with the modem. I called BigPond and they told me I had exceeded my 4Gb of download limit. What the!!! How could I exceed the limit when the laptop was in the workshop? From 12th January to 27th January there was no internet usage at all. On 28th, the day I first picked up the laptop my download usage spiked to 3.2Gb exceeding my monthly usage. How? On Saturday  night when I turned off the computer there was suddenly 112  updates. On reflection those updates would be all the scheduled updates to when I first purchased the laptop in 2010. Those updates used up all my download limit. My next scheduled re-supply of internet access is 4th February.

Sigh!

In the evening we went for a walk and met up with Gary, a resident of Tumburumba in the Snowy Mountains. Over a cold beer he told us a bit of his story. He stays in the caravan park during the week and commutes daily to properties in the area to shear sheep. He averages about 250 sheep a day sometimes getting a high around 320 per day. Weekends he heads back to Tumburumba with his wife and daughter.

Next door to Gary is Ken and Margaret. Ken is in his 70’s and has a large Bushtracker caravan and planning to start his next trip across the interior of Australia. This will be their third trip through the Central Australian deserts.

Thursday 2nd February

I spent most of the day using the notes on my iPad to bring my blog up to date ready to post on the Internet when I have access once more.

The CO-PILOT  slept for most of the day.

Friday 3rd February

Culcairn Post Office

Culcairn Rail Line with wheat silo's. Enlarge the photo twice. Note the Trig Point at the very top of the silo. Note also the large Wedge Tail Eagle with kill near the top.

Edited. This is the photo you should click on to see the trig point and the eagle.

In the morning while the CO-PILOT was sleeping I took more photos around Culcairn

Ford Dealership. Building is now out of use.

An early bank building.I have never heard of the London Bank of Australia.

including a visit to the Cemetery

The oldest grave in the Culcairn Cemetry.

where I saw a small Willey Willey picking up small tumbleweeds and spinning them around across a dry paddock.

Enlarge the photo to see the leaves and tumbleweeds caught up in the willey willey.

The CO-PILOT woke at noon and said “take me somewhere”. So, I did. Somewhere, was Albury on the border of Victoria. In fact the locals refer to themselves as border people and the local newspaper is called …The Border Mail. Albury is an old city and I regret we did not take the camera. If we had taken the camera we would not have got the grocery shopping done and would not have left until dark. Albury is worth going back for another visit…or two or three.

On the drive home we saw something which was not visible on the drive down. The setting sun highlighted the rocky feature known as Table Top mountain.

Just south of the little town of Gerogery is a rather long, high and curved new road bridge over the railway line. A few years ago five young men were killed when the driver tried to beat a train at the crossing. Quickly a road deviation was designed and an overpass bridge was built at the site. The bridge is named Five Mates Crossing. Sad but true.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerogery_level_crossing_accident

Saturday 4th February.

When I woke this morning I knew it was Christmas morning. The sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky but my present was sitting on the table waiting for me. It’s aura drew me, inexorably to open it. I could feel the waves of persuasion were saying, open me first. My present of course, is my now repaired laptop but even more of a thrill was my Internet access has been restored to a full 4 Gb of download/upload overnight. Of course I opened it first. Breakfast could wait! I had three weeks of lack of use to catch up on.

Trolling through my laptop I have discovered the following items are missing.

Address Book. All my email and phone contacts – gone

Firefox Bookmarks. All my favourite and frequently used web and blog sites – gone

In – built Microphone. Used for talking on Skype – gone

As well, when typing these pages on WORD, the cursor will jump to a random position within the document and without me realising, the last sentence or two are buried somewhere within the WORD doc.

The system keeps asking for an activation key. I used the key as recommended to no avail. The activation request still pops up.

Sigh!

I have my fingers crossed the man at Computer DenCity can solve these things over the phone.

Our campsite on Billabong Creek shaded by the River Red Gums.

While sitting here typing I heard a CRACK and a branch fell out of a tree nearby. There is a sign telling us to beware falling limbs.

The sign warning of falling limbs.

These River Red Gums are notorious for shedding limbs at any time of day or night.

The fallen limb. It would not have crushed WWWGO roof but would have been heavy and sharp enough to puncture the rubber membrane on the roof.

Sunday 5th February

It seems we packed a lot into today despite the CO-PILOT  sleeping in until 10am.

We drove to Albury filled fuel and looked for somewhere to have lunch. Parking spots were hard to find in the centre of town, despite it being Sunday. While walking around unfamiliar streets rubbernecking, we found a Hogs Breath Café and that is where we stopped for lunch. Interestingly they had an outdoor eating area with an unusual cooling system. Tiny mist sprays of water are injected into the room while large fans blew the mist around. It does keep the area cool but despite what we have been told, some moisture lands on the skin and furniture.

After lunch we walked to the art gallery and as with most art galleries I have visited, find that 90% is totally unfathomable to me.

After that we walked to the Regent Movie theatre to look at their scheduled movies. Wow! What a movie theatre. The staircase from the ground floor has marble balustrades. Star Wars Episode I 3D begins next Saturday.

Hmmm!

I have an excuse to drive to Albury next week.

I noticed a big monument on top of a hill overlooking the main street.

War Memorial sign

We drove to the top and found a War Memorial opened in 1925.   http://www.alburycity.nsw.gov.au/www/html/474-monument-hill-war-memorial.asp

The War Memorial

The memorial looks down the hill along Dean Street to the railway station and large suspended  footbridge across the railway line and the Hume Freeway.

Looking down Dean Street Albury from the War Memorial.

The memorial is over 30 metres tall and has a surrounding Memorial Bowl which is a series of brick sized plaques forming a low wall. Each brick plaque has the name of an Albury district serviceman killed in any theatre of war. Along with the name is the rank, theatre of conflict and unit. It is rather an impressive monument and an emotional experience.

On our way home we stopped at the old village of Table Top. The intention was to have a beer at the Ettomogah Pub. So much for intentions. The place was closed and wire fence erected around the property.

Finally, tonight, a 55 year old puzzle was partly solved for me.

When I was about 10 my paternal Nana showed me a large medal and said it was issued when my great great great grandfather rescued people in the Gundagai Flood of 1853. Family research reveals no records, at least on my fathers side. Tonight the TV was turned on waiting for the 6pm news. I was not paying particular attention, as the program, Antiques Roadshow is a bit boring. I looked up and saw THE MEDAL on tv. The medal is a Commemorative Plaque issued by King George V to the families of Soldiers of the Empire who died in WW1 between 4th August 1914 and 30th April 1920.

http://www.northeastmedals.co.uk/britishguide/WW1memorialdeathplaque.htm

That at least explains the medal as I know a grandparent was killed in France in 1918.

The flood hero story still remains unsolved.

236. Sunday 29th January 2012. So much to see around Culcairn…

05/02/2012

REMEMBER AS ALWAYS. CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT. CLICK AGAIN TO HAVE A FULL SCREEN SIZE PHOTO.

Monday 23rd January

Today the CO-PILOT  had another day off. We packed a picnic lunch and headed into the unknown just to see what we could see. We drove east through the town of Holbrook to pick up the Hume Highway then turned south towards Albury. A few klms later we turned off the highway to a small town called Woomargama then onto a smaller rural road, The Tunnel Road which joined a smaller gravel road, River Road. The Woomargama National park also uses the road and or river as a boundary.

The mighty Murray begins life in the mountains somewhere in the Snowy Mountains. From there it wanders all over this part of NSW and Victoria. Of course here it is reasonably small but in times of flood spreads out across the land covering the fertile river flats.

According to the map this road followed the mighty Murray River towards the headwaters.

The granite River Road which twists and turns and rises and falls as it follows the course of the Murray River.

This is hilly country, being on the edge of the Kosciuszko National Park and Wilderness area.

The granite rocks were a common sight along the road.

We stopped beside the road, somewhere between Talmalmo and Jingelic for lunch.

Talmalmo Pub. It is listed for sale and not open on the day of our visit. We could have enjoyed a nice cold beer otherwise.

We saw lots of cattleand sheep during the day and like all sensible animals followed the shade at midday. Each of these cattle found a patch of shade cast by a tree.

On the other side of the river was Victoria. In places we could see a road on the Victorian side of the Murray. That road is bitumen sealed and is known as the Murray River Road. The headwaters are declared to be at Cowombat Flats in the wilds of the wilderness area. As we were still some 80 klms from Tumburumba we decided to leave exploration in the Snowy Mountains area and the Kosciuszko National Park until another time and perhaps use Tumburumba as a base. The Murray River views we saw today are spectacular and any photos we took do not really do it justice.

How to get water pressure from tank water. Find a dead tree near the house and put a water tank on top.

On our way home we stopped at Round Hill where we saw the grave of John McLean

Historical gravesite.

on one side of the road and a fancy walled Trig Point on the other side.

Trig Point near Round Hill farm near Morven.

Tuesday 24th January

The CO-PILOT  has another day off today so we drove the 72 klms to Wagga Wagga in the mistaken belief the laptop would be ready.

Have I mentioned that Wagga Wagga is a large town. Of course it is part of the Riverina, well known for growing fruits and vegetables as well as table and wine grapes. The area is also a big wheat producing area and there are lots of sheep stations. Another industry which keeps the area alive and well is the Defence Forces with an Army Base as well as an Air Force Base. We were surprised how vibrant, alive and busy the town is. The main shopping street and the two shopping malls we visited were choc a block busy. Perhaps it was families getting last minute shopping before school returns next week. The people we spoke to claim the stores are always busy.

I noticed many young men with short haircuts, so short they were almost shaven. While sitting outside a clothing store I spoke to one of them. I had guessed they were Army recruits but did not realise they had completed their marching out parade the day before and this was their final day in town before setting off to their corps training for 12 weeks before final posting to a unit, perhaps even overseas service. The meeting reminded me of my basic training in Singleton then driving to Puckapunyal in Victoria for my corps training.

In the afternoon we drove to a lookout above town and also visited the small museum. We have promised ourselves before we leave we will visit the Botanical Gardens and Zoo. We simply did not have time today. From the lookout it seems that Wagga and the surrounding towns are all sitting in a flattened saucer shaped valley as far as the eye can see.

Wednesday 25th January

The CO-PILOT  was back at work today after enjoying four days off in a row. I worked around camp and spent time talking with other campers.

The laptop is still not ready. So far, Computer DenCity of Wagga Wagga, part of the Leading Edge Computer Group and an Apple and Toshiba agent, have not returned any of my calls. I have to keep calling or visiting them for an update. So far, their service, or rather, lack of it, has been poor. Today they claimed my computer problem was the result of a build up of too many .TMP files and all that was required was a cleanout of those files.

Huh! I had only done a computer clean-up, including .TMP files last week.

Thursday 26th January

Australia Day

Another work day for the CO-PILOT  and another day of reading and washing and tidying and whatever I do to fill in my days. Whatever it is I do, I enjoy it. Watched the unbelievable events of the Australia Day riots in Canberra. I could hardly believe this was happening here. The rule of violence is something which happens elsewhere, not in OZ. Any belief in the rights of our indigenous brothers and sisters just got trampled underfoot by that display of violence.

Friday 27th January

The laptop saga continues. Today I was told I needed a new hard drive, replaced under warranty and that the drive was ordered on Wednesday and would be installed today. Huh! What about the .TMP files I was told about on Wednesday? Ummm. Was the reply. That was another person with, by co-incidence, the same surname, same laptop and brought in for service on the same day. What the!!! Do they really expect me to believe that story? My surname is not that common and according to the White Pages Directory only 6 people share the same surname in NSW one is my brother the other is his son. None of then live anywhere near Wagga.

Sigh!

I made arrangements to collect the laptop in the morning as, according to the person I spoke with, the installation of the HD and operating system and restoring files takes 8 hours so will be done overnight.

Saturday 28th January

Dropped CO-PILOT  at Henty Hospital for the her workday and drove the 72 klms to Wagga to collect the laptop. It was only when I collected the laptop I was told none of my programs had been installed as they are not allowed to do that.

Whaaaat?

All my programs I have spent almost two years gathering and installing have to be re-installed?

Yes.

Sigh!!!!

Well it was more than a sigh really but for the time being I will describe my mild explosion as a sigh.

Drove the 72klms back to WWWGO and started installing programs until it was time to collect the CO-PILOT  from Henty.

Henty Pub proudly wearing the original town name Doodle Cooma.

More Doodle Cooma but showing signs that better days are gone.

Original Commercial Banking Company of Sydney with attached managers residence above. Another sign of a once prosperous town.

That night about 11pm I shut down the laptop with the plan to finish installations on Sunday. As I shut down I received a message saying there were 112 updates to be installed. That should have been a warning.

A storm came through just on dusk. We watched the storm building all afteornoon. First the wind came through and it started raining…leaves. It was strange to see those leaves falling like wind driven rain. Then the real rain came several hours later. It rained, quietly, off and on during the night.

Sunday 29th January

The day dawned, bright and sunny.

Spent the entire day installing programs and uploading photos and WORD and EXCEL data.

The microphone does not work.

Windows, EXCEL and WORD are slow to operate.

Internet access is abysmally slow.

Sorry folks, exploring and photographs has taken a back seat this week while I solve the laptop problems. A problem which has been going on for three weeks. A problem which the experts at Computer DenCity seem incapable of understanding or solving.