Monday, 18 June 2012

A visit to Gunning and Gundaroo

We decided that we would advance our plan to visit all towns in NSW by going to a couple of localities North of Canberra today.  By coincidence their names are a tad similar: Gunning (70km from Canberra) and Gundaroo (40km).  This snip from Google maps shows the relationship.
We decided that we would go to Gunning first and have our picnic lunch there.  Frances went to the information centre - a rack of pamphlets in a Shell service station - and found a brochure about a walking trail, including a map of the town.  The picnic was not a bad theory, but unfortunately the weather was ungood, so instead of eating in the nice park we retreated to the car.  After eating we thought that walking would keep us warm enough and duly set off.  The first listed place was not located, which was not a promising start!

However we did find the Presbytery, dating from 1888.  The Catholic Church was next to it, but is a modern structure, consecrated in 1973.

The cemetery was quite close to this church.  Many of the graves dated from the 19th century and it appeared to be in good condition.  The guide made reference to this one,
because of the sad story of the occupant's demise.   He was the brother of Hamilton Hume, the explorer who is buried at Yass.
Moving right along we next went past the old police barracks.  They are now a private residence and look very modern at ground level.  The chimneys however look to justify the "Historic Building" plaque on the front fence.
Surprisingly the Shire Office didn't get a mention in the guide.  Possibly this is because the main seat of the current Council (Upper Lachlan Shire) is in Crookwell some fair few kilometres North East!
Some towns have large fierce guard dogs lurking on the verandah.  Gunning has a chook!  A high proportion of places had seats on the verandah which suggests sitting out front is a popular pastime.  It would be far more pleasant now that the Hume Highway has bypassed the town.
This is the main War Memorial in Gunning.   The building behind it is the Post Office which is up for sale.  One hopes this doesn't mean the PO will be shutting, with the nearest alternatives being in Yass (40kmW) or Goulburn (50km E).  The linked real estate listing suggests there are no plans for closure.
That is the only War Memorial listed in the Register of War  Memorials for Gunning.  As we followed the walk we found several others for which I have passed details to the Register people.  This one is a tribute to a local guy who died - of "enteric fever" in the Boer War.
This plaque is in a grove of remembrance.   The gates to the grove are a more general memorial and according to a special pamphlet about memorials in Gunning were relocated since the local drivers couldn't get through a 3m wide gap and kept knocking them over in the original location!
This place is no longer a Holden dealership, which may explain why the final painting is a model produced in 1974.
This less commercial graffiti appealed, especially the one on the right (click to enlarge).
Sheep and dogs seem important to local artists!
Moving back towards Gundaroo we noticed some lawn visible between the art?works at this place.  I am not sure if it gets the Bad Taste award as it doesn't include a poorly executed figure of an indigenous person: we did spot such a feature in a front yard in Gunning!
Gundaroo seems to be configuring itself as a eating centre.  It is well covered in the booklet - if not the website - for the Poachers Trail.  Matt Crowe's wine bar has been around for ages and the smoke coming out the chimney made it look very appealing.
I suspect they wouldn't have welcomed a small dog.  On which subject a much larger dog ran across the road to check her out, and looked to be more interested in war than love.  I suggested quite loudly that the dog 'go away' (not quite in those words) and it did.  However I possibly disturbed the rural peace of the village so I apologise to Gundaroo if that was the case, but felt that the parade of speed fiends from the bar shortly afterwards was more noisy!

There were many cars parked outside the Royal Hotel!  This seems to have a 'fine dining' element.
Here is Gundaroo's main war memorial.
and this is the other one listed in the Register.  I am astonished that two plane loads of people were killed on training flights in this area.
The only items up in the air this day were very large flocks of Galahs.  This one at Gundaroo totaled about 100 birds and a at least one similar sized flock was at Gunning (feeding on the main oval).
Bird of the day: Black-shouldered kite
Tree of the day: Large deciduous items through both settlements (beeches?)
Pattern of the day:  The swirling flocks of galahs at Gundaroo
Bad taste of the day: over-statued garden in Gunning.

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