Sunday, 3 March 2013

An oxymoronic visit to the Upper Lachlan

This is the latest development in our project to visit every town in NSW.  Our main target was Crookwell, which I regard as an oxymoron, because you can't be crook and well!

We also hoped to see some interesting birds and this occurred almost before we had got started with a female Peregrine Falcon crossing in front of us just outside Bungendore.

On the far side of Bungendore we called in at the tip to drop some stuff we no longer needed off at the tip.  This included an evaporative cooler.  That had hardly got onto the ground when a fellow tip user enquired what was wrong with it.  On hearing "Nothing, we just don't use it." the 'No scavenging' rule was downgraded to a guideline immediately.

On, on to Goulburn noting large numbers of Starlings and Cockatoos at various points along the way.  (You will be surprised that we managed to pass the Tarago Show without stopping.)   We filled up with petrol in Goulburn and headed off.  After about 5km Frances commented that the road signs were talking about Taralga, rather than Crookwell so I checked the road map.
We were heading NE not NW so did a U-turn and beetled about a bit.  Things still didn't look right and we ended up back on the Taralga Rd again!  This time I looked my detailed map of Goulburn and after about 20 minutes and 12km we were on the right road.

This goes past Pejar Dam which used to be the sole source of water for Goulburn.  In the drought which broke in 2010 the dam emptied and Goulburn was close to having to truck in water or drinking.  It is a bit better now!
We checked out a couple of spots to look for waterbirds and we eventually able to find 2 Great Crested Grebes (the dam is the local hot-spot for this species) and 2 Musk Duck.  Also many, many Eurasian Coots.  As the weather was somewhat ordinary (drizzle and strong wind) we headed off to Crookwell.

The first business there was the War Memorial.
This was in a pleasant park which seems to have been the venue for the Potato Festival the previous day.  By entering at the memorial we didn't see all the stroppy signs about no dogs!  Also in the park was this sad memorial to a soldier who died in the Boer War.  (Enteric fever seems to be an old name for typhoid.)
This nice rose garden was established by the Shire and the CWA.  The LH plaque commemorates members of the CWA while the RH one is a memorial to those who died in the 199-45 War
The Shire Offices are not a modern magnificent edifice.   They were built in 1911- which is possibly revealed by the steep pitch of the roof and the relatively small windows.
On one building there were a couple of murals featuring dogs.  We had to do some comparison work.


Across the road was an old mill, which now seems to be completely disused after a period as a gym.

A bit more art was provided by a well decorated meter box
This is a pub which seems to date from 1884 (white bit) with a 1924 addition.
The Catholic Church looks old and grand but apparently dates from 1958 after the one built in 1891 burnt down!

This is the Presbyterian Church where a very pleasant couple of members of the congregation admitted me so that I could see the Honour Roll inside (as well as the memorial plaque on the gate).
After quickly scoping out the Memorial Hall (now mainly a Library) we headed off to the village of Laggan about 8km NE.  They had a Memorial Hall ..
and a school with a well muralled water tank.  (The dog in this one looks a tad lethargic.)
It was then back into Crookwell and off towards Rugby and Rye Park along the Narrawa Road.  Before we got to that locality the road climbed a ridge into granite country.
It then dropped sharply into the valley of the Lachlan River with quite a bit of twistiness.  I was reflecting on the impossibility of the road being used safely to haul heavy trucks of ore from Majors Creek to Parkes (the idea of a socially responsible mining company had me thinking of the word 'oxymoron' again) when a couple of B-doubles hove into view at some high speed.  So the transport industry is un-prone to social responsibility without a link to the miners.

We finally got to the locality of Narrawa which seemed to be mainly St Barnabas Church.  The fence on the roadside of the Church was graced with Diamond Firetails, which are always nice to see. I was intrigued about this corner of the Cemetery which was entirely devoted to members of the Kensitt family.
Our next stop was the village of Rugby, which was very small.  They have erected these gates as a memorial to the 3 residents killed in WW1 and the two from WW2.  I believe the fenced off tree was a lone pine (Aleppo Pine) but there was nothing to confirm that.  It was looking very well!
Another nice school mural.  We spoke briefly with the teacher -on a Sunday afternoon she was still at the school - and she said she had done a bit of the design but the kids had done the painting.
After a bit of dirt road driving we arrived at the village of Rye Park. They had a notice board showing the history of the village including the Memorial Hall.
Unfortunately the rest of the village wasn't as well maintained.  This place was about average.

It was then a matter of rolling back down the road to Yass and home.  I was surprised to find we had covered about 400km on the trip.

On talking about this the next day we agreed that the area between Crookwell and Yass seemed to have the greatest number of ruined farmhouses and localities devoid of settlement that we have come across.  Apart from the run down nature of many of the houses of Rye Park it didn't have a pub or a shop; Rugby didn't have a shop (now - there was a closed one); and both Wheeo and Narrawa seemed to only have a Church and no other infrastructure.  The farms however seemed to be prosperous and the stock looked to be in good condition.  Something to ponder!

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