243. Sunday 18th March 2012. Up in the mountains, Culcairn and over 55…

Monday 11th March

The CO-PILOT has two days off work so I planned a trip which would feel a bit like a holiday for her. Of course, as with all my best laid plans, something gets in the way and slows us down. The planned departure time of 8am became 10am. As our route passed through Albury we decided to drop in to visit Dick Smith Electronics. The remote control for the Personal Video Recorder I bought in December has stopped working. No, it was not the batteries.  The night before I had tried three new sets of batteries. I also tested the batteries in the device and all replacements. All had a full charge of 1.5 volts or greater. Long story short, DSE replaced the remote control and we were on our way.

After leaving Albury we passed over the Murray River into Wodonga, Victoria and turned on to the Murray Valley Highway, which is not the same valley through which the Murray River flows.

Go figure.

Nevertheless the valley is very pretty and has many historical sites and towns along the way. First stop was Tallangatta for lunch.

Tallangatta on Lake Tallangatta taken from a hillside lookout.

It was a public holiday in Victoria today, so many of the shops were closed. The pubs were open but their lunch prices were a bit extreme so we elected for a pie and salad at the bakery.

This is so cute. It is the first time I have seen a water fountain with a special bowl for dogs.

Lots of old motorcycles, mostly on the back of utes or trailers,

An old Indian Motorcycle on the back of a trailer. There were several trailers and utes carrying mostly old Indians and Harley Davidsons outside the Tallangatta Pub.

were arriving in town.

Another old Indian at Tallangatta.

Two old Indian motorcycles were ridden into town. There was a rally somewhere over Jindabyne or Khancoban way and the bikes were on their way home. Where better to meet up on the drive home than to call into the Tallangatta Pub.

We continued along the Murray Valley Highway, noticing the High Country Rail Trail mostly follows the same route as far as Cudgewa. We stopped to walk to an historic trestle bridge at the Lawson State Park between Darbyshire and Koetong.

Boggy Creek Trestle Bridge sign.

The bridge, although now in a state of near collapse is a fine example of the workmanship of almost 100 years ago.

Boggy Creek Trestle Bridge.

All the rail lines have been removed but the basic track bedding is kept in good condition for hikers, cyclists and horse riders. Following the track we noted an original timber road bridge, also in a state of near collapse, crosses over the cutting through which the original rail track ran.

Boggy Creek road bridge.

From the car-park to the trestle bridge is a well formed track joining the High Country Rail Trail. Along the way we happened upon a fresh wombat hole.

Fresh Wombat hole.

Arriving late in the afternoon at Corryong we decided to stay in a motel for the night and used the last few hours of the day looking around this historical old town.

Corryong Post Office.

It is reported the poet, Banjo Patterson, met a local bushman, Jack Riley and based his epic poem, The Man From Snowy River on his exploits and fine horsemanship.

Jack Riley commemorative statue.

Others dispute the claim but the locals believe it to be the truth and have capitalised upon the link. In late March each year Corryong has The man From Snowy River Bush Festival and the town was already geared up for the influx of participants and tourists. We took time to visit the cemetery

Corryong Cemetry

and the grave of Jack Riley.

Jack Riley grave at Corryong.

Corryong is in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains and views of the surrounding mountains are everywhere. It would be a wonderful sight in the winter when the snow arrives. Cold though!

Although at the last Census there were 1200 people living here it seems a far more prosperous and busy place than say Henty or Culcairn, towns with which we are familiar and of similar population. Most shops are occupied and those which are look in good condition and doing well. Today was a public holiday but nevertheless the two hotels and several motels were open for business as were three take away stores.

Dinner was at one of the hotels where we had roast lamb and veg.

Tuesday 13th March

Today we drove over the NSW border (Murray River) to Khancoban (last Census in 2006 had the population as 241) where the Alpine Way Highway commences then returned to home via the Murray River Highway in Victoria through Towong, Tintaldra, Walwa, and crossed the Murray again at Bellbridge back into NSW and home. The road pretty much faithfully follows the turns and contours of the river making it a longer trip than returning via the way we came.

It felt like we were driving in Tasmania again.

While in Khancoban we took a drive along what must be one of the shortest highways anywhere. It is the Alpine Way highway, 136 Klms from Khancoban to Jindabynne. It is a narrow steep and winding road through isolated and inhospitable bush.

Typical of the many warning signs we saw on the steep climb from Khancoban to Murray 1.

We only drove as far as the Murray Number 1 Power Station and looked at the history in the visitor centre.

Murray 1 Power Station.

The Snowy Mountains Scheme, now called Snowy Hydro, has seven hydro power stations which supplies power to the national grid.

Power from Murray 1 with moon overhead.

The water is used to turn the 10 turbines then runs into Swampy Plains River

Water from the turbines is released into Swampy Plains River.

and then into the Khancoban Dam which is then released into the Murray River. Guided tours, in fact any kind of tour, are no longer carried out in any of the power stations in the Snowy Mountains Scheme. It seems there are too many security and safety issues involved. Especially security and threats of terrorism issues.

Sign as we leave Murray 1.

Back in Khancoban we looked at the Dam

Khancoban Dam.

and I, being me, decided to climb through a loose wire fence on the creek bank in front of the dam. I wanted to get a clear photo of the turbulence stirred up by the dam water being released. I did not realise and there were no warning signs, the fence was electrified. I lifted the top strand and stepped through with one leg and whammo! I got a full electric shock on the umm err, you know the umm err, privates. I am sorry to report I let out a scream as I felt my parts burning. Well, not actually burning but that was the sensation. It was rather painful for the next 15 minutes and left me shaken and doubled over. The discomfort gradually eased enough for me to go in search of a sign. Found one, down the dirt track around a corner and nowhere near where I had my incident. I was back to normal a couple of hours later.
The local Khancoban airstrip is below the dam wall.

The Khancoban airstrip - below the dam wall.

Interesting.

I would love to visit here later in the year when the snow is all around.

Around this end of the Murray River (which is near the headwaters, located somewhere around a place called Tom Groggin) they refer to the area as “The Pure End of the Murray”. From what we saw of the clear sparkling rushing water we can agree with the comments.

Murray River near Khancoban.

Old Farmhouse tucked into hillside.
On the drive along the Victorian side of the Murray River we saw many interesting sights including the following.

Ruins of what once would have been a substantial farmhouse.

The ferry can hold about two cars. It is a free service. There is a push button at either side to summons the ferryman. There is a floating pontonnat each end. You drive onto the pontoon then onto the ferry. Regrettably we did not use the ferry on this occasion. It would have cut about 50 klms from the trip.

We use the Bethanga Bridge to cross Lake Hume from Victoria into NSW.

Wednesday 14th March

Not much happened around camp today except for the usual housekeeping duties. However an interesting conversation with neighbours is worth reporting. A couple arrived in a Winnebago Leisure Seeker of similar vintage as ours. So I walked over and said g’day. As you do. Our new neighbours are from Belgium. For the last 18 years they have been coming to Oz and travelling for 6 months of spring and summer then returning to Belgium for 6 months of spring and summer. They have travelled around Oz three times and have been criss crossing the nation each year. He is 80 years of age and does all the driving. I enjoyed talking with this happy travelling couple.

In the evening I spent some time with our neighbour Garry. He is a sheep shearer and his wife is a Qantas Airline pilot. They live at Tumbarumba in the mountains. He lives in the van next door during the week when he is shearing. Tonight he was cleaning and sharpening the combs and blades on his electric shears.

Cleaning, polishing and sharpening shearing blades and combs.

Thursday 15th March

Sometime during the night I was woken by something. A sixth sense working as I slept? Perhaps it was a noise?  It was still dark but I thought I heard the distant rumble of thunder then saw a little flash of light visible through the open roof hatch. I stepped out of bed and reached up to the hatch and saw another closer flash of lightning followed by a few splashes of raindrops. I closed the hatch and the bathroom hatch and as I climbed back into bed another stronger lightning flash and the rain started in earnest.

Whew! I started to imagine what the consequences would be had I slept through whatever warning sense woke me. Eventually I fell asleep to the sound of drumming rain.

I was woken sometime later when the CO-PILOT got out of bed to close the hatch screen to keep out the lightning flashes. With all our curtains and the hatch screen closed we were in our own darkened cocoon.

Friday 16th March

Woke to continual rain and a radio announcement we should be prepared for another flood.

Hmmm! What to do on a cool wet day when the CO-PILOT is at work?

On our way home on Tuesday we crossed a bridge over the Murray River near Khankoban. As we stopped to take photos, the CO-PILOT noticed a couple of apple trees growing behind the Armco barrier. We picked a bucket load of apples. Today I peeled, sliced and cooked up a batch of those apples. I also tossed in a large peach and a good handful of sultanas. I put some of the cooked apples into a couple of small pannikins, added a couple of walnuts each and mixed up a topping of flour, brown sugar, oats, coconut, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Once this mix was placed on top of the apples I baked them in the turbo oven. It was the best apple crumble I have eaten.

Apple Crumble.

Saturday 17th March

A quiet day apart from finding a Bogong Moth perched on a chair outside WWWGO.

Bogong Moth.

It seems their bodies hold 61% fat and were quite tasty to the local aboriginal tribes in the Snowy Mountains. The moths would gather in their thousands around caves where they were harvested for eating by the local tribes.

Sunday18th March

It was a day off work for the CO-PILOT so we visited several over 55 resorts around Albury. Over 55 resorts are totally different to a retirement resort. For a start there are no medical facilities in the resort. They are designed for healthy active people. NO, we are not looking at buying into a resort here but it was a good chance to visit, see the various types of resort, what facilities are included, price of housing and weekly fees and deferred management fees, if any. Armed with that information we now have an idea of what we are looking for when we finally decide to settle. We also took a visit to Lake Hume on the NSW side at a place called Table Top.

Lake Hume at Table Top.

Submerged fence at Table Top.

 

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