283. Sunday 25th November 2012. A week of thunder storms in New England…

Monday 19th November

Garden duties was the order of the day and nuthin’ else to report.

Tuesday 20th November.

Today was a bit more exciting.

In the morning I visited the local doctor who used me for target practise with his liquid nitrogen gun. I have several sun cancers which were burned and all going well they will scab up and fall off over the weekend.

In the afternoon I drove to Armidale to visit the University of New England…UNE. I was looking for a book on the history of the Commercial Bank of Australia Limited. Briefly the bank was established in 1860 and in 1982 merged with the Bank of New South Wales and in the merger a new name was formed, Westpac. Both banks lost over 100 years of history in the merger. I was interested because I worked for the bank when I left school in 1960. In our travels throughout New South Wales I have photographed some of the old branch buildings which are still standing. I had expected the book would give a list of all the branches but after finally finding the book I was disappointed there was no such list.

Wednesday 21st November

Today was trimming overgrown garden shrubs and cutting grass. Then I put the awning out on WWWGO and set up mats outside the door and set up a row of solar LED lights and generally make the area look neat and lived in.

WWWGO set up behind the rose bushes and honeysuckle vine.

Thursday 22nd November

Today I drove with Greg to Armidale where we both visited CentreLink. Now without going into details I will just report that as usually occurs when I visit one of these Government offices, I come away less than happy. Without going into a full scale rant I will just say today was no exception to the rule. Apart from getting some grocery items and a new set of very nice rubber floor mats for TERIOS we had lunch at the – of all places – the St.Kilda Hotel.

On the drive home we could see another of those pesky thunderstorms building up across the range. We arrived home in time to ensure windows and hatches were closed before the thunder, lightning, wind and rain began.

Friday 23rd November

Another quiet day of garden duties and or general loafing around.

Saturday 24th November

Today was, well today was a day which made up for all the apparent non happening of the rest of the week. Today I drove to Inverell 88 klms west of Guyra.

About 10klms out of Guyra is a location known as Wandsworth. Of the five houese, two have been abandoned.

Not far out of town I came across two lots of cattle feeding on the grass verge of the road. This is often referred to as the “Long Paddock” or more officially a “Travelling Stock Route”.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_route

It is wise to slow down as there are hundreds of big beefy cattle on the roadside edges and they are prone to skittishness and run in front of a car. In fact I had one bull do just that…luckily I was down to 40Kph and was able to avoid a collision.

The cattle come right to the edge of the road.

Sixty six Klms from Guyra is the small, once prosperous, tin mining town of Tingha.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tingha,_New_South_Wales

Tin is no longer mined although a new exploration license has been issued and exploration is expected to commence in 2013. Tingha is supposedly an Aboriginal word meaning “flat or level”. Well, I am here to tell you it is anything but flat or level.

Rocks high up on Guyra Hill above the town of Tingha.

In some respects the town reminds me of a smaller less affluent version of Lightning Ridge (see our Post 159).

Royal Hotel, Tingha. Most of the other shops have murals painted on them.

Many houses are constructed (or thrown together) in as a cheap and easy method as possible, the moonscape of holes and mullock heaps and the general dusty look about the town.

A house being enclosed by concrete blocks. It seems small mining towns such as Tingha, Ruby Vale and Lightning Ridge have at least one house being built in an “individual style”.

I was intrigued by the many waterholes, pools, dams, ponds and man-made watercourses. It seems these are the remnants of mines which are no longer worked and have been flooded. The best example is what is called the swimming hole which is bigger than a football field and very deep according to the locals I spoke with. The water has an emerald green tinge to it. The locals call it a blue tinge. View the photo and make your own choice.

Tingha Swimming Hole in the flooded remains of a tin mine.

Tingha Swimming Hole.

On the way out of town on the Inverell side is a sign to The Old Mill. What the heck, it’s only 4 klms off the main road. I arrived at Old Mill which is not an historic site or relic at all. It is a small settlement (the locals call it a village but there is no shop) of a half dozen 5 acre blocks with handyman houses built on them.

Another 10 Klms closer to Inverell is the smaller and dustier town of Gilgai.  Tin mining was carried on here and there are some holes in the ground filled with water although I am not sure if the town name is a result of mine waterholes or natural waterholes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgai   This was another town famous and wealthy during the heady tin mining days.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilgai,_New_South_Wales

Inverell itself is another established mining town better known for diamonds, sapphires, zircon and yes tin, to name a few. They call the town variously “Sapphire City”, “Gem City” or even “Diamond City” and it sits beside the McIntyre River. One of the first buildings to catch my eye as I drove into Inverell was the once famous landmark, Byron Arcade, built 1901 and destroyed by 2010.   http://newenglandaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/fire-guts-inverell-historic-byron.html

Fire ravaged Byron Arcade.

A chat with locals reveals the town is still doing OK but some fringe type businesses have closed. Although the locals would not agree, it would seem there is a problem with anti-social behaviour as Closed Circuit TV cameras have been set up on main intersections and business district. The cameras were only finally installed this week.

Some locals believe they do not have a social problem but why else were CCTV installed?

There are lots of nice old buildings in town and it is worth another visit to see the places I never had time for today.

Courthouse.

Look at the date the Oxford Hotel was established. 1886.

Inverell Post Office

Original Inverell Town Hall.

The CO-PILOT, Donnis, is due home next week after three months away in Canada and Mexico so we can plan a few trips after she recovers from jet lag.

All in all it was a long and tiring day with over 180 Klms of travel with frequent photo stops.

On the edge of town is an historical village with this imposing windmill at the entrance.

Along the road i saw lots of Native Mystletoe. It is a parasite but most do not harm the host plant. See http://www.northwestweeds.nsw.gov.au/mistletoe.htm

Tonight the daily thunderstorm, lightning and rain rolled in to give a few hours of a light show and top up the already topped up rainwater tank.

Sunday 25th November

Today I visited Dangars Falls in the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park. ( It should not be confused with the Dangar Falls near Dorrigo)   http://newenglandaustralia.blogspot.com.au/2010/01/fire-guts-inverell-historic-byron.html

It is about 16 klms south of Armidale with about 11klms being gravel and of that about 4klms is washboard gravel. The final klm is steep. On arrival there are signs saying to beware as there are steep slopes and cliffs and to be cautious especially with children. “Holy Guacamole Batman!” They are not kidding it is very steep and although there was only a trickle of water over the falls it is easy to see the 120m straight fall.

Dangars Falls with sheer cliffs.

Dangars Falls showing the 120m drop.

Even with safety fences along the walkways and strong viewing platforms I still felt a trifle nervous looking straight down to the valley below.

This suspended viewing platform extends over the falls. It sure made me nervouse looking straight down.

It certainly came as a surprise to find the gorge as the surrounding countryside is gentle hills and suddenly there is this deep gash through the land.

On the other side of the falls is a “look down” viewing platfom where you can see just where the falls viewing platform is located.

Looking straight down to the pool of water at the base of the falls.

The cliffs are carved out of a mixture of granite and basalt rock. The scenery is breathtaking as apart from the falls there is the deep gorge running off into the distance.

Dangars Gorge

Camping is permitted here…at a price, at $10 per person per night it is almost as steep as the falls.…although the only facilities are pit toilets, fire pits and water which must be boiled before use. I would have liked to have been here yesterday when the lightning, thunder and rain crashed through.

Thunderstorm building up over Dangars Gorge.

On the drive back to Guyra a Severe Weather warning was issued including strong winds, lightning, rain and hailstones! Hmmm! There is nowhere to get the vehicles under cover so all I could do was bring in WWWGO awning and park TERIOS behind a very large shrub.

At the time of writing this the storm has had its way with us mortals. Thankfully it was only mild with thunder lightning and some rain. In the darkness to the south I can see more lightning flashes so perhaps stage two of the storm is on its way.

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