Saturday, 30 March 2013

Towns of the Lachlan: day 1

So El Camion Real (apologies to Spain and France for mutilating their languages) was fired up for a settle down drive to the North West.
We were heading for Lake Cargelligo in an area where it can get rather warm in Summer so had checked the forecast carefully.  The result was:
  • 27 March: 32C maximum
  • 28 March: isolated showers, chance of rain
  • 29 March 26C maximum.
Read on, to find if it is true that meteorologists are mathematicians who couldn't get a job with Lehmann Brothers.

I have previously posted about the phenomenon of "stick figures in back windows".  We noticed quite a few of these as we went around, but thought this collection - at the first comfort stop, after an hour - perticularly amusing.  What intrigues me is that I have never noticed these things for sale anywhere.  Wheredyagetem?
Anyhow, having got that snap we headed off down the road - enjoying the luxury of space in El Camion - being fascinated by a truckload of at least 6 fibreglass swimming pools of various sizes.  We didn't stop until we got to Harden.  We have visited here before but on this occasion we noticed the Catholic Church of Our Ladywas open. As it was a rather impressive building we hopped in for a squizz.

The altar cloth was an excellent bit of work ..
 .. as was this rose window,
On the outskirts of Wallendbeen, at a roadside parking area, we found this art work celebrating the importance of wheat to the area.  According to a very informative plaque this is illuminated in colours at night.ger son
 The area was actually called 'Mackay Park' and a second plaque was a memorial to the family after whom it was named.  The links below take you to more detail about this fascinating family.

  • The patriarch, Alexander Mackay was the first settler in the area.  His story gets a fair go in a brief history of Wallendbeen.
  • His older son James was a notable soldier (a founder of the Light Horse, CO of the NSW Bushmen in the Boer War) a poet/author and State MP and MLC for the area.  In this year of Canberra's centenary the linked reference notes that "He commanded the military parade at Canberra in 1913 for the setting of the foundation stone and the naming of the capital."  
  • The younger son Donald George, was primarily an explorer and surveyor.  The plaque notes that he held the record in 1900 for the first bicycle ride around Australia.  He did 11,000 miles (17,600km) in 240 days!
The bushranging connection in the mural on the pub is covered in the link to Mackay snr above!  The area appears to have been blessed (?) with the activities of inter alia Ben Hall and Johnny Gilbert

 The major war memorial in Wallendbeen was under repair!  This was erected by Donald Mackay.
 There was also a Memorial Hall next door to a building with advertising on the wall.  This was a genuine antique including a Pound Sterling symbol!

Moving on up the road we came to Stockinbingeal which had a memorial wall alongside a shed with historic advertising.  These days all wheat is bought by the AWB and I suspect most wool is sold on line.
 Further up I felt this triple decker at Springdale was evocative of modern pastoral activities.
The memorial here had a collection of pieces, commemorating the various wars and the recent efforts of community to maintain them.
 We then got to a relatively large town in the form of Temora.  The Catholic Church there was very impressive, both inside ...
.. and outside.  Frances commented that it is far more common to find Catholic churches open than Anglican or other Protestant denominations.
We are often finding that the Court Houses in country towns are imposing buildings (not surprising - they are built to satisfy the powerful in the area who pronounce judgement therein) and well maintained (which in the days of the New World Order and the consequent austerity, is a bit more surprising).
I don't think this is a hot bed of Republican fervour.
 The War Memorial is very impressive and covers a wide district.  I certainly recognised some names on this from Springdale.
Across the road from this park was another commemorating Fr. Gregory Hannan who died in 1975 attempting a world hang-gliding record.  Apparently his glider was being towed by a truck when it crashed!

The next two shots are of the current endurance sport common throughout Australia.  Road works.
At least someone was doing some work!
The memorial in Barmedman was in quite a large park, well planted with rosemary.  Note the large lump of artillery in the background. 
 At this point I became very discombobulated geographically.  As we approached West Wyalong - I thought from the South - we found this memorial.  I became excited as I thought the big one for the town was to the East and thus this was a newie.  A bit later as a result of some unintended exploration of the town it emerged (when I finally deigned to look at a map) that we had come from the East and this memorial was the well known one.
 Another ornate Court House.
 Frances was concerned about walking too far in West Wyalong as the car thermometer was reading 35C - which was abut what it felt like.  However it was architecturally interesting and even the pubs there are ornate and well maintained.
We did find a new memorial in West Wyalong (an iron memorial arch but it isn't very visually exciting so I haven't included an image here.  These decorated poles near the path leading to the arch were more interesting.
 After leaving WW we came to the small settlement of Urangie.  We had a good look for a War Memorial but couldn't find one.  They did have an amusing mural on a shed at the entrance to the settlement, but - sorry folks- without a memorial you ain't a town.
 Tullibigeal was just off the main road but did as promised have a memorial including a piece of ordinanance!
By the time we got to Lake Cargelligo the thermometer appeared to settled on 39C as a description of what was going on outside.  Our first point of call was the old sewage works which it used to be possible to drive round, using the car as a mobile hide.  No more.  The gate is locked (perhaps they have been invaded by Coal Seam Gas vandals?) and all one could do was check the swamp from a hide made by the local Men's Shed.
We we first went through the gate I saw a honeyeater with a block head which I managed to misidentify as a Black Honeyeater.  On discussing this with some other birders I realised that it was in fact a Pied Honeyeater: my first life-bird for the year!

We then moved on to the campground where it was still 39C.  Fortunately the Lake is currently well endowed with water so the lawn was well watered!  As the Visitors Centre was closed I enquired of Kylie, the duty person at the campgound, if the weather would be cooler the next day.  She advised that she hadn't thought that far ahead!
 The War Memorial at Lake Cargelligo is nicely situated on the banks of the Lake.
 We decided that some take-away food was the go for evening meal.  The fast food shop offered fish and chips (which were pretty good).  They also offered this array of cakes which were not going to be sold that day.  However, checking out the cross-section of the locals we saw, high carbohydrate diets were very popular in the town, so the display case could well be empty after breakfast the next day.
 While we ate our take-out it looked as though a nifty storm was coming.
 Unfortunately, all that turned up was heck of a lot of wind, so we lay in our tent sweating buckets and wondering if the pegs and our bodies were going to keep the tent on the ground.

Here are links to other days on this trip;
Day 2
Day 3

No comments: