Posts Tagged ‘Armidale’

486. Sunday 17th April 2016. A drive through parts of western NSW…

20/04/2016

Monday 11th April

Heading west from Gymea we picked up the Great Western Highway. Much of the highway climbs over the Blue Mountains and passes through the fertile plains beyond the Great Dividing Range. The highway begins a steady climb through umpteen small heritage listed towns and is only one lane – both ways. Road works are an ongoing works in progress. I would call it simply the Western Highway and omit the “great”. That said the area is steeped in historical sites. More sites than we can expect to have time to see on this journey.

First up we stopped at the town of Katoomba which sits atop the range at 1050 metres above sea level. In the winter it snows here. Today however it was a pleasant 27° and winter is still around the corner.  We paid the parking fee to visit the Three Sisters

The iconic Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Enlarge the photo and look at the first sister on the left. You can see a narrow bridge from the cliffs to the sister.

The iconic Three Sisters at Echo Point, Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. Enlarge the photo and look at the first sister on the left. You can see a narrow bridge from the cliffs to the sister.

Three early settlers found a way to bring horses and wagons through the Blue Mountains and the plains beyond, Their endeavours opened the region to expansion. Those historic expeditioners were. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. Suburbs have been named after them along the road they surveyed. These statues at Katoomba are in honour of the original convict labour used to build the road, the soldiers appointed to keep the convicts working and also to the local aboriginal population who did their best to harass and stop the invasion.

Three early settlers found a way to bring horses and wagons through the Blue Mountains and the plains beyond, Their endeavours opened the region to expansion. Those historic expeditioners were. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson. Suburbs have been named after them along the road they surveyed. These statues at Katoomba are in honour of the original convict labour used to build the road, the soldiers appointed to keep the convicts working and also to the local aboriginal population who did their best to harass and stop the invasion.

Tourists simply cannot get enough of the views.

Tourists simply cannot get enough of the views.

at Echo Point

Echo Point is the location at Katoomba where all the tourists buses and other visitors spill their passengers to gawk and go OOOh when they see this spectacular view of valleys and steep sandstone cliffs.

Echo Point is the location at Katoomba where all the tourists buses and other visitors spill their passengers to gawk and go OOOh when they see this spectacular view of valleys and steep sandstone cliffs.

This viewing platform is an on the edge experience

This viewing platform is an on the edge experience

Donnis enjoyed the scenery.

Donnis enjoyed the scenery.

Look beyond the bearded guy in the crumpled hat and note the huge sandstone cliffs of the Grose Valley.

Look beyond the bearded guy in the crumpled hat and note the huge sandstone cliffs of the Grose Valley.

and gape in awe with thousands of tourists at the huge vista which are the Grose and Jamison Valley’s. It is sort of a green version of the Grand Canyon. A very steep narrow staircase leads down to an equally narrow bridge joining the sandstone cliffs to the first of the three sisters.

Atop the first sister with the Grose Valley in the background.

Atop the first sister with the Grose Valley in the background.

Closeup of the foot bridge to the sister. For some reason the bridge is named Honeymoon Bridge.

Closeup of the foot bridge to the sister. For some reason the bridge is named Honeymoon Bridge.

On this occasion my knees failed to live up to the expectation of my mind so we left the walk to braver souls.

Next on the agenda was Scenic World where the operators provide a free multi story carpark. A good thing they do as the lines of people willing to spend big dollars to be terrified meant we would run out of daylight before being able to join the Scenic Railway

This is the end of the Scenic Railway, Note that it sits atop a steep drop to the valley floor.

This is the end of the Scenic Railway, Note that it sits atop a steep drop to the valley floor.

which offers a 52 degree incline whilst dropping over the edge of a cliff then hurtling towards the valley floor before brakes and safety cables bring you to a stop at a platform dangling over yet another cliff above a valley floor further below. See   www.scenicworld.com.au

Scenic Skyway is a cable car suspended 270 metres above the valley floor. The floor is glass!

The Skyway with the glass floor moves slowly across the chasm between to cliffs. To add a little terror it stops halfway while  controller explains something trivial.

The Skyway with the glass floor moves slowly across the chasm between to cliffs. To add a little terror it stops halfway while controller explains something trivial.

Equally thrilling is the Scenic Cableway which descends 545 metres to the floor of Jamison Valley.

Scenic world has three rides which make the strongest person feel trembly in the knees. This is Cableway.

Scenic world has three rides which make the strongest person feel trembly in the knees.
This is Cableway.

But… we had to find accommodation for the night and continued on the Not So Great Western Highway, followed the steep Victoria Pass to Lithgow, a once great Coal Mining Centre and the Military contracted Lithgow Small Arms Factory. The town still has a strong community spirit which accounts for the very modern Workies Club where we had dinner.

Tuesday 12th April – Happy ..th Birthday Donnis

Looking at a map I now realise we will have to compress our days, missing some sights, in order to use the planned route and find our way home by the weekend. We skipped the attractions at Lithgow and pushed on to Bathurst where we drove around the famous Mt Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Panorama_Circuit    Most of the track and some of the pit area is open to the public.

Entrance to the Mt Panorama Race Circuit.

Entrance to the Mt Panorama Race Circuit.

The start lines for races.

The start lines for races.

...and the race is underway. Top speed of 60 Kph has been achieved.

…and the race is underway. Top speed of 60 Kph has been achieved.

At the top, Skyline Pass with terrifying steep off camber left and right bends. around the

At the top, Skyline Pass with terrifying steep off camber left and right bends.
around the

I have been watching the Mt Panorama Race, on television, in October each year for all my adult life. It was thrilling driving the same track, at 60 Klm per hour where the professionals are racing at speeds up to 300 KPH. How is it possible?

There is lots to see at Bathurst but we are on a mission to fit in as much as possible every day.

We picked up the Castlereagh Highway and drove to Sofala, an old gold mining town established in 1851.

Boot Hill, the dead centre of Sofala.

Boot Hill, the dead centre of Sofala.

Most of the original houses pre 1900 are still intact, some habited. The narrow street follows the Turon River for all the 300 metres which comprises the town.

At one time Sofala was big enough to have sufficient population to justify a gaol.

At one time Sofala was big enough to have sufficient population to justify a gaol.

Donnis looking for a book at the Sofala Book Store. It was the only store, apart from the pub, which was open.

Donnis looking for a book at the Sofala Book Store. It was the only store, apart from the pub, which was open.

This ancient building was an eatery but not open when we visited Sofala.

This ancient building was an eatery but not open when we visited Sofala.

I was a bit cruel and left Donnis hanging around for awhile.

I was a bit cruel and left Donnis hanging around for awhile.

There is so much history here but we only had time for a walk around, a quick lunch then on to Mudgee.

Mudgee is also an old gold mining town but survives today due to sheep farming. It is a wealthy town, full of attractions but many of the old historical shops and houses have been modernised and in our opinion has lost a lot of its character appeal.

We drove on to Gulgong, birthplace of Henry Lawson, arguably Australia’s greatest poet and the man who appears on the original $10 note along with some town buildings.

The Henry Lawson Centre at Gulgong.

The Henry Lawson Centre at Gulgong.

I have been a keen reader of the collective works of Henry Lawson. Regrettably while travelling my collection of books were stored in our garage. After 4 years in storage and several years just sitting on the bookshelf the books had become musty smelling. I did not feel like moving all those books once more only to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps never be looked again. I gave away my collection.

Sob sob.

For those interested in why I liked the stories  and poems by Henry Lawson, please refer to the following site.   http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poems-book/verses-popular-and-humorous-0022000

The wonderful thing about Gulgong is that it is still old. The gutter/footpath edging is made from rough dressed sandstone.

Gulgong have left the original rough dressed sandstone on place for the gutters and foothpath edging.

Gulgong have left the original rough dressed sandstone on place for the gutters and foothpath edging.

I am so pleased they retained this feature. There is minimal attempt to modernise the buildings.

Musty old building in Gulgong. Despite its appearance it has been fitted out inside with a couple of flats.

Musty old building in Gulgong. Despite its appearance it has been fitted out inside with a couple of flats.

Mmmm. This buthchery has been on this site for 100 years.

Mmmm. This butchery has been on this site for 100 years.

We stayed overnight at the Prince of Wales Hotel, built somewhere around 1875 or earlier and much of the old building is retained and incorporated into a newer but still old style interior.

ONe of the dining areas at Prince Of Wales Gulgong

One of the dining areas at Prince Of Wales Gulgong

POW outside Dining area.

POW outside Dining area.

POW Fireplace for the outdoor dining area.

POW Fireplace for the outdoor dining area.

Wednesday 13th April

Today we elected to turn more northerly and miss the large towns/cities of Dunedoo, Dubbo, Orange and Wellington. I guess my driving plans were too ambitious for the time we have available.

Shortly after leaving Gulgong we turned off on the Black Stump Way, a back road in fair condition. For those unfamiliar with Oz, the Black Stump is/was a mythical/real place in the middle of nowhere with unexplored territory beyond. To say you went west of the Black Stump meant you have gone into countryside unexplored by white man. One such town is Coolah which sits squarely in the middle of Black Stump countryside.

A mechanic shop/panel beater/spray painter at Coolah had a great many old cars dating from around the 1950's. This looks like a Vanguard. Then again it could be another British motor car. Anybody know what it is?

A mechanic shop/panel beater/spray painter at Coolah had a great many old cars dating from around the 1950’s. This looks like a Vanguard. Then again it could be another British motor car. Anybody know what it is?

Trains do not run anymore  in many of the older established towns. This example in Coolah has all the bits and pieces removed from this signal post. Even the station has disappeared and only the tracks, overgrown with thick grass are the only indicators a train once came to town.

Trains do not run anymore in many of the older established towns. This example in Coolah has all the bits and pieces removed from this signal post. Even the station has disappeared and only the tracks, overgrown with thick grass are the only indicators a train once came to town.

In fact Coolah calls itself the Black Stump capitol.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Stump   It is a small town and like many small towns is struggling to retain is character and to stay alive in the 21st century. It is sad to see many closed shops and knowing young people have to leave town to find work. By coincidence Donnis worked at the hospital here for three months in the winter of 2014.

The road eventually joined the Newell Highway at Gunnedah. (By taking this route we also cut out other towns such as Gilgandra (where I have a cousin – Hi Lance) and Coonabarabran. We stopped for lunch then decided to stop for the night at Tamworth, famous for the Country Music Festival in January each year. We arrived earlier than expected and drove as far as Bendemeer where we stopped for the night.

i30 parked outside Bendemeer Hotel.

i30 parked outside Bendemeer Hotel.

The old pub was built in 1864 and apart from a few modern touches still looks and smells like 1864. The old highway which ran through the town brought traffic and customers to the small town was diverted in 1983/84 and the town is trying to re-invent itself and find new ways to attract customers off the highway.

During dinner tonight we received terrible news. Our good friend Glennis passed away last Friday. Glennis was diagnosed with tongue cancer only a few months ago. She made the decision not to have radiation therapy so she could enjoy her remaining time as best she can.

 

No longer will we meet at various country locations while travelling in our motorhomes. Last Thursday she and partner Eric were married in a simple ceremony on their property in the Daintree Rainforest. Glennis died the next day.

Vale Glennis.

We also heard from my cousin Bob, he has three types of cancer and has elected not to take any radiation treatment as it will only detract from his quality of life and may not give him any longer to live.

Sigh!!!

Thursday 14th April

Woke to a chillier morning than we are used to and drove to Armidale. Wow! It is even chillier here. Having lived at nearby Guyra for 5 months back in 2013/2014 I realised at this altitude (just on 1,000 metres for Armidale and over 1,300 metres for Guyra) it can be cold all year round. Two days ago we were at Katoomba also on 1,000 metres and on first getting out of the car noticed a chill in the breeze. Here the chill occurs without any breeze.

We stopped here to visit friend Greg T who is in a nursing home. Greg is only a few years older than me but has suffered Parkinsons Disease for about 10 years. Recently he acquired Alzheimers Disease. Doctors believe he now has Lewy Bodies, another degenerative disease and he needs constant care. While visiting he stayed awake long enough to recognise our presence but fell into a deep sleep and could not speak with us. His wife Linda and two of their sons, Jason and Gavin spent a good hour with us. I am sure in Greg’s subconscious he knew we were there.

Sigh!!!

Passing through Guyra we stopped to speak with Greg’s third son, Justin, before we travelled the New England Highway to Warwick in Qld before taking some back roads through to Beaudesert and Canungra and arrived home after 10 hours on the road.

Gee it was wonderful falling asleep in our own bed.

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406. Sunday 25th January 2015. Lightning everywhere else but none at Lightning Ridge…

25/01/2015

ANOTHER BIG WEEK OF PHOTOGRAPHS.

Monday 19th January
The day started overcast but the clouds soon moved away so the sun could give us another scorcher.
By the time I had a coffee at mid- morning I was packed and ready to go with hopes of some more cloud and maybe some rain along the way to Armidale.
Between Tenterfield and Glen Innes I stopped at a place called Bluff Rock

Bluff Rock

Bluff Rock

an imposing jump up of a rock formation in a sea of gently undulating hills. A memorial plaque is set in stone at a parking bay across the road from the rock. It seems there are many versions of the significance of the rock but basically a white shepherd was murdered by a group of aboriginals in 1844 at nearby Bolivia Sheep Station. (when I say “nearby it is about 40 klms away) It seems men at the station chased the tribe to Bluff Rock and threw all the aboriginals over the edge killing some and injuring many. Looking at the rock you have to wonder why all who were thrown over the edge were not killed. Then again you have to wonder how a small group of white men could throw a whole tribe of men women and children over the edge. Anyway please do not shoot the messenger. I am just repeating information found on the plaque and on several web sites. The stories are substantially the same but the size of the aboriginal group, their tribal name and how many white men chased them differ in each version I read.
I came through two heavy downpours one of which occurred just as I was exiting Guyra. The noise on the windscreen and roof of TERIOS gave me cause to ponder. Hmmm! That sure is heavy rain. Michael, another character witness, was travelling about three minutes behind. Neither of us knew the other was on the road. The storm hit Michael just as he was arriving in Guyra and noting the hail stopped to ride out the storm. I had taken off my prescription sunglasses and simply did not notice the heavy rain included hail! On arrival in Armidale I noticed a serious drop in temperature. Brrr! I had not bothered to bring warm clothes as I expected heat wave conditions for the next week.
Tuesday 20th January
Thankfully it was a sunny day – well at least it started out that way.
Michael and I walked to the courthouse and waited to be called. This was Michael’s second visit to Armidale to give evidence as a character witness.

It was my third visit.

Neither of us were called. During the lunch break I walked back to the motel to collect my heavy duty raincoat as there was some pretty large thunderhead clouds building to the east and some angry black rainclouds to the west. As we left the courthouse both met overhead and rain and lightning erupted. One lightning strike in particular was in the courthouse plaza and made me jump about a metre off the ground. Call me crazy but I walked the half kilometer to the motel whispering to myself only a few more minutes before I would be safe from the lightning. Phew I was never so glad to get inside away from the continual strikes.
Wednesday 21st January
Another day sitting in court waiting to be called.

Suddenly I heard my name and found myself in the witness box taking the oath confirming my identity. I gave answers to questions. Cross examination was a one line question to which I sort of snorted, laughed, answered no and it was all over for me. I had done my duty. Although it was midday there was no point leaving as I have a seven hour drive ahead of me so plan to leave in the morning.
After lunch I went to the Armidale Bi-Centennial Gardens and Arboretum.

Lomandria Longiafolia overlooking blue pond.

Lomandria Longiafolia overlooking blue pond.

Arboretum at the Armidale Bi-Centennial Gardens.

Arboretum at the Armidale Bi-Centennial Gardens.

Friendship Grotto in the Armidale Bi-Centennial Gardens. I can find no information what the purpose of the grotto is all about.

Friendship Grotto in the Armidale Bi-Centennial Gardens. I can find no information what the purpose of the grotto is all about.

The water in the ponds is a brilliant blue colour but I can find no information on-line why the colour is so vibrant. The arboretum was completed ready for Bi-Centennial Celebrations on 1988. I took several photos including one which includes a Lomandra Longiafolia (basket grass) in the foreground. Imagine my surprise to find a photo taken from the same location with the grass in the foreground on ABC Local Website when researching information. Have a look at the photo here https://open.abc.net.au/explore/32411
Another storm rolled in about the same time as yesterday.

Tonight I met with my friends at PJ’s Thai Restaurant in Armidale. It is located in an old house painted in bright colours.

Closeup of chimney.

Closeup of chimney.

PJ's Thai Restaurant in an old Armidale house. Note the dead climbving plant growing out of the chimney.

PJ’s Thai Restaurant in an old Armidale house. Note the dead climbing plant growing out of the chimney.

Thursday 22nd January
I started my long journey to Lightning Ridge at 8am. I passed through Inverel before 10am so continued on to the once wealthy and busy town of Warialda. The town is one of many struggling to exist. A once vibrant industry which kept this town prosperous for so long has gone. It was coffee time so I took time to walk around the two main streets and take note of the old buildings and had coffee.

Warialda Post Office built 1880.

Warialda Post Office built 1880.

Warialda Returned Soldiers Memorial Hall.

Warialda Returned Soldiers Memorial Hall.

Next stop was Moree where I refueled and bought fresh vegetables and fruit for Donnis. Both commodities are available in a well stocked IGA store but Donnis feels the prices are a bit steep but also when those fresh fruit and veggies are gone there are no more supplies until the next week. I thought that I was ahead on time when leaving Moree but soon realised I had another 269 Klms to travel which meant at least another three hours.
Next stop was Collarenebri where I stopped beside the river to make a thick breadroll and ham lunch washed down with water before hitting the road again. The temperature was in the low 30’s but tempered by a breeze off the river.
Finally arrived in Lightning Ridge in time to greet Donnis as she finished her shift at the hospital.
After dinner we collected workmate Julie and went to the hot bore pool just on sunset. There were about a dozen other people already there all doing the hot bore pool gradual immersion into the constant 40° heated water.

This is the thermal pool at midday. Note the few patrons at that time of day are sitting around.

This is the thermal pool at midday. Note the few patrons at that time of day are sitting around.

Here is how it works. First shower in either a cold or luke -warm shower. Walk over to the pool where a series of steps lead into the hot water. Sit on the top step with water around the ankles. Then after awhile slide down a step until you are sitting in the water. Gradually slide another step until water is around your shoulders then take a few careful strokes to reach the other side of the pool and return. Then reverse the process to slowly exit the pool. Shower and return to the pool. While sitting with water around our waists we watched a beautiful sunset and a little later a sliver of moon rose and Venus sparkled like a jewel in the purple darkening sky.

Artesian Bore Sign

Artesian Bore Sign

By the time we arrived back at the unit, showered and had a cup of tea I was ready for bed. The quiet dignity of the people around the pool and therapeutic properties of the water is not only relaxing but seems to wash away all bodily aches and pains. Quiet conversation with fellow pool people just adds to the atmosphere.
Friday 23rd January
I spent the morning walking around the streets and noting the many styles of housing many of which are made from found materials. A local tour guide refers to houses which are made from “recycled” materials.

This old ironstone, gravel , mud and cement hand made bricks make this a house which is cool in summer. Except of course for the unlined superheated steel roof.

This old ironstone, gravel , mud and cement hand made bricks make this a house which is cool in summer. Except of course for the unlined superheated steel roof.

Two of three cars parked at the back of a garage and were set alight by a person or persons unknown.

Two of three cars parked at the back of a garage and were set alight by a person or persons unknown.

Old car in the front yard of an old mud brick dwelling.

Old car in the front yard of an old mud brick dwelling.

Drivers eye view from the car.

Drivers eye view from the car.

Yoo Hoo the TERIOS and RALLYE together under the shelter of a cabin roof line at The Ridge.

Yoo Hoo the TERIOS and RALLYE together under the shelter of a cabin roof line at The Ridge.

The castle is made from local ironstone rocks and other re-cycled materials and has a window using an old car door with a wind up window.

The castle is made from local ironstone rocks and other re-cycled materials and has a window using an old car door with a wind up window.

The courthouse becomes a busy place during the week.

The courthouse becomes a busy place during the week.

230115 gaol

This is the courthouse lockup. Two small rooms adjoined by a small courtyard. Imagine sitting in there in mid summer waiting to be called!

 

Drainage canal through town.

Drainage canal through town.

Another house of bits n pieces materials. Note the small wind turbine to charge batteries. It supplements the solar panels just visible on the roof.

Another house of bits n pieces materials. Note the small wind turbine to charge batteries. It supplements the solar panels just visible on the roof.

A house made from re-cycled materials such as bottle, aluminium cans and local ironstone rocks.

A house made from re-cycled materials such as bottle, aluminium cans and local ironstone rocks.

230115 house2

Another up-market house made from bits and pieces. Most of the houses in the “off grid” camps are little more than rough shelters.

 

The observatory.

The observatory.

This peacock was wandering around the houses near the main street.

This peacock was wandering around the houses near the main street.

This old original miners cottage is in the centre of town "on grid". That is it is in a part of town served by sealed roads, power, water and sewerage. Back when it was firts built those services were probably not available. The shack is abandoned.

This old original miners cottage is in the centre of town “on grid”. That is it is in a part of town served by sealed roads, power, water and sewerage. Back when it was first built those services were probably not available. The shack is abandoned.

This old tram was accomodation until it began to fall apart. Where are the original owners now?

This old tram was accomodation until it began to fall apart. Where are the original owners now?

Noticed this clunky early model electric bike. Donnis claims to have seen another e-bike around town which has a small solar panel mounted on the carry rack.

Noticed this clunky early model electric bike. Donnis claims to have seen another e-bike around town which has a small solar panel mounted on the carry rack.

A video at the John Murray Art Gallery sums up the Lightning Ridge raison d’être. People come to LR and experience a certain type of freedom. Many stay, many return. Looking at the mix of people and their houses I can understand the freedom of expression and lifestyle here. I did notice a young pregnant aboriginal woman walking down the street drinking a beer at 7am.

I recommend looking at the John Murray Art Gallery (http://www.johnmurrayart.com.au/ he has a quirky way of looking at the world around him and has the freedom to express his view via his art.
After lunch Donnis went to her shift at the hospital so I went for a drive around the backblocks andf mining section of town. This is where the real adventurous, eccentric, freedom loving, creative, alternate lifestyle people live, work and play. There are no formed, sealed or named streets or roads. Houses, shacks and other forms of habitat are constructed wherever from whatever can be found or if wealthy enough, bought. Those habitats are built within the boundaries of a mining lease and winding gravel tracks pass around the claims without any sense of a plan.

Old post and wire fence.

Old post and wire fence.

Gibber desert.

Gibber desert.

Unmade, unnamed tracks though the scrub around mining leases.

Unmade, unnamed tracks though the scrub around mining leases.

Out in the arid regions around town I found a partially completed shed and behind it was this mound of used shotgun cartridges. That's a lot of wasted $$$ sitting on the ground.

Out in the arid regions around town I found a partially completed shed and behind it was this mound of used shotgun cartridges. That’s a lot of wasted $$$ sitting on the ground.

In this arid puddle covering many hectares there were a number of bleached bone bundles like this.

In this arid puddle covering many hectares there were a number of bleached bone bundles like this.

All of the dwellings in this mining area are referred to as “the camps” which are off the town grid, with no water, electricity or sewerage. Officially LR has a population of around 2,000 with an unknown number living off the grid. That population is made up of 55 different ethnic groups. The people ion these off grid camps are a secretive lot and if/when they find an opal they pack up and leave, preferring to sell their find in a big city rather than broadcast their find locally.
I really cannot explain why but we love the town with its air of decrepit poverty mingling side by side with restrained wealth. All the shops and business houses have security screens over windows and doors.

Most of the shops around town have a security grilles over windows and doors.

Most of the shops around town have a security grilles over windows and doors.

A different security version are these shutters which padlock in place. The tow outer wings fold back onto a centre panel and the top panel is used as a daytime chalkboard for daily specials.

A different security version are these shutters which padlock in place. The two outer wings fold back onto a centre panel and the top panel is used as a daytime chalkboard for daily specials.

Did I explain that it is hot? Just two or three Klms out of town you are back in the unforgiving sparse desert growth. With the midday sun beating down and a hot wind shoving its way through the spindly gnarled stunted trees it certainly reminds you to be self -sufficient.
Uh Oh I forgot to bring my water bottle!
In the afternoon the new nurse, Mick, arrived to share the cabin.
After Donnis and Julie finished their shifts the four of us went to the Hot Bore Pool for an hour of relaxing soaking.
Saturday 24th January
Another hot day here in LR. I am reliably informed that it is always hot here in LR. In the morning we drove via TERIOS 4WD to the very first black opal mining shaft on the western side of LR. It is interesting to note the different style of shacks in the old area of LR compared to the new. The old area mining leases are measured in hectares whereas the newer sites seem to be measured in hundreds of metres. The old site still has open vertical shafts with just a token gesture at providing security so nobody falls into the shaft. On the new sites it seems most of the shafts are either closed off or run 45° into the ground rather than the 90° traditional shafts. The newer shafts seem to have a small outhouse type structure built over the entrance to the shaft. The outhouse then allows the miner to be able to lock the shaft when not in use.

A lone refrigerator which once upon a time was a waterproof  mail, package and message storage chamber.

A lone refrigerator which once upon a time was a waterproof mail, package and message storage chamber.

In the afternoon I visited the LR Golf Club, Race Track

The end of the race track.

The race track finish line.

The slight arc race track at LR.

The slight arc race track at LR.

The 1200 metre start gate at the racetrack.

The 1200 metre start gate at the racetrack.

and Cemetery.

LR Cemetery

LR Cemetery

Simple white timber crosses many of which are marked ":Unknown".

Simple white timber crosses many of which are marked “:Unknown”.

The golf course is a series of dry desert like fairways interspersed with raised tees and greens. Some of the greens are small centres of green grass as are some of the tees.
The race track is somewhat unusual in that it is in a, well, not quite a straight line but a gentle arc. It is not a traditional circular race track. The length is 1200 metres and is straight out racing. There are no rail tactics on this course.
Next was the cemetery, which like the rest of the town is baked hard. Most of the gravesites are marked with a simple white cross with details of the deceased written with a marker pen. A few graves had headstones. What was sad from my point of view was the large number of “Unknown” graves.
Sunday 25th January (Australia Day Eve)
LR has four self drive tours known as the car door tours. Reed, Green, Blue and Yellow car doors mark the way. A map and explanatory guide are available from the Tourist Information Centre for a $1 donation.
Today I did the yellow car door tour. This tour includes the Chamber of the Black Hand

Entrance to the Biggest most impressive underground Black Opal mine.

Entrance to the Biggest most impressive underground Black Opal mine.

the most popular opal mine tour. The mine is on several levels each of which have chambers carved out of the solid rock. Each of those chambers has carvings of famous and infamous people and places in history. It was interesting to note that on this tour there are many open shafts with little attempt to close the openings.
Located nearby is the new excavation for the Australian Opal Centre.

Basic Earthworks for the new Australian Opal Centre.

Basic Earthworks for the new Australian Opal Centre.

It will be a two story building, Recessed into the ground and insulated by the earth.It will collect its own rainwater, generate its own power and be filled with fresh air and natural light. It will house the greatest collection of opal and opalised fossels.
Adjacent to the site is the site of a massive open cut mine called Lunatics Hill. This was an open cut mine of which there are very few in the area…hence the name. However a $2,600,000 opal was extracted from this mine in 1986. The area around LR was once part of an inland sea and the layers shown on the open cut photo show layers of sediment dated to 120,000,000 million years ago.

The open cut mine site "Lunatic Hill" showing different layers of a 120,000,000 million year old inland sea.

The open cut mine site “Lunatic Hill” showing different layers of a 120,000,000 million year old inland sea.

All the town water comes from the same subterranean source as the artesian pool. The water is cooled before being piped to houses within the town limits. It still has a slightly sulphurous smell. Most houses, including the hospital have a separate tank water supply for drinking purposes. Our water is filtered a second time through our own filters before we drink it or use it for tea or coffee.

 

391. Sunday 27th October 2014. Blackhawks and a long drive…

29/10/2014

Monday 20th October

As is usually the case, the week begins slowly as we have not yet made any plans.

In the morning I sat around the park at the bottom of our street and wandered up to our clubhouse and pool to take photos.

 Local Biggera Duck. No the ducks are not known as Biggera Ducks but rather this is a local duck from Biggera Creek.

Local Biggera Duck. No the ducks are not known as Biggera Ducks but rather this is a local duck from Biggera Creek.

This is our heated pool.

This is our heated pool.

Today we took WWWGO for a 100,000Klm service. A timing chain or belt is usually required at this service so they needed WWWGO for two days to obtain the parts and carry out the full service.

After delivering WWWGO to the Iveco Service Centre we drove to Robina where Donnis had another round of acupuncture. Now here is something unusual which should be mentioned. Acupunture is not normally part of mainstream medicine. It is usually considered a complimentary or an adjunct to traditional medicine. Therefore it does not normally come under the control of Medicare. Where possible, Donnis and I choose doctors who provide a bulk billing service. For our overseas visitors, Medicare is the universal health care system in Australia which everybody pays for. Bulk Billing is the practice of the doctor accepting the Medicare Scheduled Fee in full payment of a consultation. They do not charge an additional fee to bring their fees up to the Australian Medical Association Scheduled fee which could be $20 or more than the Medicare scheduled fee. The unusual part is the doctor Donnis saw provides acupuncture as part of a bulk billing process. From a financial point of view that is good value. But… the practice is 21 Klms from home. Somehow we need to find a doctor who does, bulk billing to include acupuncture and osteopathy and naturapothy as well as traditional medicine. and is closer to home. Given there is about one million people living in this area I am sure we can find anything we want.

In the afternoon we had a measure and quote to have ceiling insulation and whirly birds installed. (Whirly birds are a roof mounted wind powered turbine ventilator which extracts hot air from the roof/ceiling cavity, along with R.30 insulation batts it should help to keep our house cooler in summer and warmer in winter).    It was interesting to note the man doing the measuring used a laser measuring device. Not only does it measure, without need of a tape or second person, it saves all the measurements and calculates the square metreage of an area. It can also calculate volume of an area.

For most of the afternoon and until around 9.30 PM, there were four Blackhawk Helicopters flying in formation between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. They passed over our home at least a dozen times. Strangely the night flights seemed to be at a lower altitude. The choppers are training for security reasons for the G20 Conference to be held in Brisbane the third week of November. The national leaders of USA, China, Russia, India, Japan, England, France and Canada to name a few will be in Brisbane and the biggest security operation ever in Australia will be in full swing.

Blackhawks getting closer.

Blackhawks getting closer.

Blackhawk helicopters flying in formation towards the Gold Coast.

Blackhawk helicopters flying in formation towards the Gold Coast.

...and closer.

…and closer.

...overhead.

…overhead.

Thursday 23rd October

We had another two quotes for roofing insulation. One told us he had been in business for 23 years and everybody else is a shyster. He also claimed whirly birds are useless. He measured up using a laser device. In the afternoon another insulation person showed up to give a quote he used a traditional tape measure and needed an offside to assist. He claims whirly birds are essential.

Sheesh!

Later we collected WWWGO and battled Gold Coast traffic in both directions to bring it home.

Friday 24th October

In the morning we started cleaning WWWGO and emptying our bits and pieces accumulated over the last 5 years.

We had lunch at Dublin Docks an Irish style pub on a canal near home. We met up with Val and Sue R. Val and I had been members of a motorhome forum for several years and we met at a forum rally at Maleny several years ago and have kept in touch off and on ever since. In the afternoon Val helped me to discover my 32Gb micro card in my dash camera is stuffed. We tested one of his micro cards and installed it in my dash camera.

Saturday 25th October

More cleaning and tidying of WWWGO today. It looks quite good especially now it is almost empty. Late in the aftern0on I gave RALLYE a bath as I am driving to Armidale tomorrow and it is a good feeling to drive a clean car.

Sunday 26th October

After my ritualistic mid -morning coffee I left for the big drive to Armidale. I am once again required to appear in court as a character witness. I was there a month ago and did not get called so heres hoping I get called early tomorrow and can come home in the afternoon or on Tuesday morning. It is a seven hour drive and involves a double transit ( that is up over the range, down into a valley, up a another range, down into a valley and final ascent to the top of the range) of the Great Dividing Range exiting at Tenterfield which is around 1,100 metres above sea level. After Tenterfield I stopped for fuel at Glen Innes and just as I was leaving town, the sky turned black, the wind increased in intensity and big fat drops of rain bashed against the windscreen. The rain became heavier and visibility less. What the??? This storm felt like Déjà Vu as I had encountered a similar storm in this same town on at the same time of day on 3rd December 2012 as I was leaving town. The only difference between then and now was lots of lightning then.

Twenty Klms down the highway the sun appeared and the roads were dry. No rain has fallen here for many weeks.

I arrived in Armidale late in the evening. In this case later than shown on my dashboard clock as this city is in NSW and therefore is on Daylight Savings time and hour ahead. I just had enough time to book into the motel and head over to the Thai restaurant before they closed.

One thing I did notice however. The nice clean shiny car I left the Gold Coast in is now covered in road grime from the storm earlier in the day.

Sigh!!!

355. Doors

19/01/2014

Doors can be wonderful conversation pieces if the are large or unusual. They can be totally ignored even when unusual. They tend to keep the outside world out and the inside world, umm err, in. In our travels we have captured images of interesting doors which highlights some of the many places we have visited.

Grain Growers Building Entrance, Inverell, Central Western NSW.

Grain Growers Building Entrance, Inverell, Central Western NSW.

Staff entrance? At an empty shop at Guyra, New England District, NSW.

Staff entrance? At an empty shop at Guyra, New England District, NSW.

Carriage House entrance in Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Carriage House entrance in Argyle Street, The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Entrance to the Mill Museum, which, strangely was once a...Mill.. Uralla, New England District, NSW.

Entrance to the Mill Museum, which, strangely was once a…Mill.. Uralla, New England District, NSW.

This building was erected in 1845 in Cumberland Street in the Rocks district of Sydney and if you look closely at the lower keyhole it suggests thbis may have been the original door. It was once known as "LILLYDALE" as an Inn but was originally built to be a Gentlemens Residence.

This building was erected in 1845 in Cumberland Street in the Rocks district of Sydney and if you look closely at the lower keyhole it suggests this may have been the original door. It was once known as “LILLYDALE” as an Inn but was originally built to be a Gentlemens Residence.

What a wonderful gate which catches the eye instantly at Armidale, New England District, NSW. Even more interesting is it is a back gate opening onto a little used car park.

What a wonderful gate which catches the eye instantly at Armidale, New England District, NSW. Even more interesting is it is a back gate opening onto a little used car park.

Cataract Dam in the hinterland behind Wollongong has a number or turret like structures with sold timberr doors.

Cataract Dam in the hinterland behind Wollongong has a number or turret like structures with sold timberr doors.

Old church which is now a movie theatre at Glen Innes in the New England district of northern NSW.

Old church which is now a movie theatre at Glen Innes in the New England district of northern NSW.

The old tomber built Dromaderry Hotel at Central Tilba on the NSW South Coast is an interesting building its own right. However, standing across the street and looking at it with a critical eye it seems to be a fire hazard. Old, old timber and around 100 years of paint. I liked the door though.

The old tomber built Dromaderry Hotel at Central Tilba on the NSW South Coast is an interesting building its own right. However, standing across the street and looking at it with a critical eye it seems to be a fire hazard. Old, old timber and around 100 years of paint. I liked the door though.

A side gate on and old uninteresting house at Dorrigo NSW on the Great Dividing Range.

A side gate on and old uninteresting house at Dorrigo NSW on the Great Dividing Range.

315.Doors. Most often we take them for granted…

14/05/2013

In our travels we have spied many interesting doors. Many have been worthy of a photograph. In fact for the first year we never even thought to photograph these portals into another world. What follows, in no particular chronological order, are a collection of doors we encountered during our travels.

I stopped in Coolamon southern NSW while on my way north in October 2010. I stayed three nights in the council campground because:

It was cheap. Only $10 per night.

I had power and it was raining and cold. Power was used to fire up the reverse cycle air conditioner which was used to keep me warm.

The town had interesting buildings and history.

Most importantly I had nowhere to be for a few weeks so this town was as good as any to stay awhile.

 

Dunny door, Coolamon NSW.

Dunny door, Coolamon NSW.

All the shops fronting the big wide main street had a service lane-way behind them. Once upon a time all the shops had outside stables and toilets beside the back lane-way.

Typical stables and dunny behind Coolamon shops.

Typical stables and dunny behind Coolamon shops.

We travelled to Taylors Arm, the small town with the local hotel reputedly the place where the song, “The Pub With No Beer” was written.

Museum Taylors Arm, NSW.

Museum Taylors Arm, NSW.

This doorway to a Doctors surgery in The Rocks area of Sydney NSW is typical of many of the doors on the old buildings in the area.

Doctors surgery The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Doctors surgery The Rocks, Sydney, NSW.

Many of the oldest buildings in the New England district of NSW, particularly Armidale, Guyra, Glen Innes and Uralla are built from locally made clay bricks known as Armidale Blue. Typically the old buildings have sturdy doors as well.

Catholic church Guyra NSW.

Catholic church Guyra NSW.

We stayed in a caravan park called Kidmans Camp on the north bank of the Darling River in the western NSW town of Bourke. The area is well known as the beginning of “the back o Bourke” a colloquialism for “in the middle of nowhere”. This old outdoor dunny became a telephone booth then as telephone booths became obsolete it is now a curiosity.

Once and outback dunny, now a public phone booth on the Kidman property, now a caravan park at Bourke, western NSW.

Once and outback dunny, now a public phone booth on the Kidman property, now a caravan park at Bourke, western NSW.

This gateway opens onto a brick paved courtyard between two buildings in Uralla NSW leads to an empty car-park.

Not so much a door but a gateway which leads to an empty carpark in the once prosperous New England, NSW town of Uralla.

Not so much a door but a gateway which leads to an empty carpark in the once prosperous New England, NSW town of Uralla.

Armidale Courthouse is a wonderful old building full of charm and character. It is a pity the building will become empty in 2013 when the court is moved to a newer building. Council is taking submissions for future use proposals.

Solid timber doors, as you would expect, are a feature of the Armidale Courthouse. The courthouse will be closed and moved to new premises. The old building is open to submissions from interested businesses and groups.

Solid timber doors, as you would expect, are a feature of the Armidale Courthouse. The courthouse will be closed and moved to new premises. The old building is open to submissions from interested businesses and groups.

The old Commercial banking Company of Sydney building at Inverell in NSW has been used by a number of tenants since the bank was amalgamated with National Australia Bank sometime in the 1980’s. Currently it is part of the courthouse precinct and houses the Sheriffs Office.

The north central NSW town of Inverell has lots of old buildings ewrected when the town was young and gold, precious gems and other in demand minerals were mined in the district. This is the original Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Inverell branch doorway.

The north central NSW town of Inverell has lots of old buildings erected when the town was young and gold, precious gems and other in demand minerals were mined in the district. This is the original Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, Inverell branch doorway.

Ahhh! Tumburumba NSW in the southern NSW Alpine area. Those doors suggest it is warm inside.

This sturdy pair of doors is located in the small NSW Alpine town of Tumburumba.

This sturdy pair of doors is located in the small NSW Alpine town of Tumburumba.

I stayed here in September 2012. It was a great base for exploring around the Alpine areas of Victoria. The barn was toasty warm if I kept the slow combustion stove burning all day and night. I enjoyed staying here and the wonderful views of snow capped mountains all around the valley at Mt.Beauty.

These wonderful Redwood doors grace the wonderful barn I lived in late August and September 2012. The property is located in the Victorian Alps at Mt.Beauty, just below the snowline in sight of Mt.Bogong and several other snow capped mountains. The barn was heated by a wonderful wood burning stove and provided I kept the fire going 24/7 I was comfortable inside.

These wonderful Redwood door’s grace the wonderful barn I lived in late August and September 2012. The property is located in the Victorian Alps at Mt.Beauty, just below the snowline in sight of Mt.Bogong and several other snow capped mountains. The barn was heated by a wonderful wood burning stove and provided I kept the fire going 24/7 I was comfortable inside.

305. More Doors…

21/03/2013

Back at Post 288 at the beginning of December 2012 I introduced photos of DOORS. While we have been on the road I have often taken a photo of a door as it appealed to me. It seems I am not alone with this doortography as I have seen many photo collections and calendars and even paintings of doors.

So, here we go once more with another collection of 10 doors in random order.

Appropriately these doors made from Western Red Cedar in a barn like building made out of Western Red Cedar are located at Mt.Beauty in Victoria just below the snow line in the Victorian Alps. I lived here for six weeks in  August and September 2012 when I house sat for Peter and Lorna B. Although large and rambling it was a comfortable home with a wonderful wood fireplace which kept it all nice and cosy.

What a lovely set of doors at Mt. Beauty in Victoria.

What a lovely set of doors at Mt. Beauty in Victoria.

While on a visit to Tumbarumba NSW I found these solid timber doors begging to be photographed. I know there were many fine examples of interesting doors in the town but I was too busy being a rubber necked tourist to think too much about taking photos.

These double doors at Tumbarumba NSW were the entrance to a private residence within a commercial building.

These double doors at Tumbarumba NSW were the entrance to a private residence within a commercial building.

I visited the town of Inverell NSW and one of my plans was to locate the Commercial Bank of Australia premises but I saw many doors walking the streets (more photos in future posts) and still did not find the CBA bank building. I did however, find the CBC bank building.

 

These solid doors are the original on the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney (now absorbed/taken over by/aquired by the National Australia Bank) at Inverell NSW.

These solid doors are the original on the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney (now absorbed/taken over /aquired by the National Australia Bank) at Inverell NSW.

The Courthouse at Armidale was built 1859-1860. A new courthouse is being built nearby. The courthouse is still business as usual and staff were a little uncomfortable with photographs being taken inside the building. These Red Cedar doors leading to courtroom 2 are typical of the ornate timber work throughout the building.

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One of several heavy timber doors gracing the old Courthouse at Armidale.

One of several heavy timber doors gracing the old Courthouse at Armidale.

About 15 Klms from the historic town  City of Armidale is the equally historic town of Uralla. The old buildings provided many doortography opportunities. Although strictly speaking this is not a door but is was eye catching anyway.

OK OK its not a door but it is inside a covered area between two buildings forming an arcade with nothing in it and leading to a car-park at Uralla NSW.

OK OK its not a door but it is inside a covered area between two buildings forming an arcade with nothing in it and leading to a car-park at Uralla NSW.

Way out in western NSW on the edge of the desert in the beginning of the red sand country is the old historic town of Bourke. There are so many old buildings with intriguing doors that I wandered around the main streets but had forgotten my camera. Duh! This photo of an old “dunny”    ( Dunny or dunny can is Australian slang for toilet, either the room or the specific fixture, especially an outhouse or other outdoor toilets.) was taken at the Kidman Bush Camp Camp Ground where we were staying. The old dunny is now used as a a public phone booth.

The door on this wonderful useful old builing was once a privacy screen on an outside toilet in the western NSW town of Bourke.

The door on this wonderful useful old building was once a privacy screen on an outside toilet in the western NSW town of Bourke.

St.Mary of the Angel Catholic Church at Guyra is built from bricks made from clay found only at a site near Armidale Airport. The clay is no longer available but many buildings, particularly churches and public buildings in Armidale, Guyra, Glen Innes and Uralla were made from the “Armidale Blue” bricks. Oh, and the church doors are solid wood.

Another solid timber door on the Catholic Church at Guyra NSW.

Another solid timber door on the Catholic Church at Guyra NSW.

While doing our December 2012, walking tour around The Rocks,  original settlement of Australia, there were so many interesting doors I thought I would never stop taking photos. Reason prevailed and only one is shown here today. This door opens to a doctors surgery in one of the original heritage listed buildings at 37 George St Sydney.

This door on a terrace house at Lower George Street Sydney NSW is the entrance to a doctors surgery. Note the traditional doctors surgery red light to the top right of the door.

This door on a terrace house at Lower George Street Sydney NSW is the entrance to a doctors surgery. Note the traditional doctors surgery red light to the top right of the door.

Taylors Arm is a small community west of Kempsey NSW. The town pushes the theory that this was the location of the original Pub With No Beer. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Pub_with_No_Beer ) This distinction is challenged by  the town of Ingham in north Queensland but numbers seem to favour Taylors Arm as the original. At the back of the Pub With No Beer is a small historical museum which itself is of some interest. The building is an old church and was rescued from demolition by the publican and carted to its present location. The museum houses all sorts of memorabillia about the area and the PWNB.

The Pub With No Beer song was purportedly written about the pub at Taylors Arm near Kempsey NSW. These doors open onto the little museum to honour the Pub With No Beer.

The Pub With No Beer song was purportedly written about the pub at Taylors Arm near Kempsey NSW. These doors open onto the little museum to honour the Pub With No Beer.

The words to the famous song are…

Songwriters: Parsons, Gordon Noel

 

Oh it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer
Now the publican’s anxious for the quota to come
And there’s a far away look on the face of the bum
The maid’s gone all cranky and the cook’s acting queer
Oh what a terrible place is a pub with no beer
Then the stockman rides up with his dry dusty throat
He breasts up to the bar and pulls a wad from his coat
But the smile on his face quickly turns to a sneer
As the barman says sadly the pub’s got no beer
Then the swaggie comes in smothered in dust and flies
He throws down his roll and rubs the sweat from his eyes
But when he is told, he says what’s this I hear
I’ve trudged fifty flamin’ miles to a pub with no beer
Now there’s a dog on the v’randa, for his master he waits
But the boss is inside drinking wine with his mates
He hurries for cover and he cringes in fear
It’s no place for a dog ’round a pub with no beer
And old Billy the blacksmith, the first time in his life
Why he’s gone home cold sober to his darling wife
He walks in the kitchen, she says you’re early Bill dear
But then he breaks down and tells her the pub’s got no beer
Oh it’s hard to believe that there’s customers still
But the money’s still tinkling in the old ancient till
The wine buffs are happy and I know they’re sincere
When they say they don’t care if the pub’s got no beer
So it’s-a lonesome away from your kindred and all
By the campfire at night we’ll hear the wild dingoes call
But there’s-a nothing so lonesome, morbid or drear-
as to stand in the bar of a Pub With No Beer.

The final selection is another toilet door located at Coolamon in south west NSW. Strictly speaking this is not a dunny door. Dunny usually refers to pit or dunny can style toilets without flushing facilities. This dunny is still in use, has flushing facilities and is called a dunny by the locals. Therefore this is a dunny door.

An outdoor toilet, still in use at Coolamon, NSW.

An outdoor toilet, still in use at Coolamon, NSW.

Oh, by the way, in Oz slang we often hear a description of a large solidily built man OR woman referred to as being “built like brick dunny”. As you can see, it is a solid building.

Cheers until Sunday.