Sunday, 28 April 2013

More towns of the Southern Highlands

A few weeks back I posted about our first foray into the Southern Highlands on our "Towns of NSW" project.  We added a few more scalps to that totem pole today.

As we set off in the Executive Jetta towards Berrima the Lake George basin was full of fog and the wind farm was completely still.
The drive was uneventful, and we called in at the Gordon VC rest area to add that to our collection of War Memorials.  It was pleasing to find that after receiving his award in 1941 Gordon lived until 1986.
All the way from Goulburn I had noticed Veteran/Vintage cars and trucks on the road.  Many were being transported on modern trucks but these were under their own steam leaving Berrima.  (I have had a small search round Google and have not been able to find an event the vehicles were heading for.)

On getting to Berrima we parked beside the Park and, as it turned out, right beside the War Memorial.  They had obviously had  good turn-out at their ANZAC day event.
It was a rather sunny day which made exposure difficult but this naff image does show the shape and colour of this huge English Oak planted in 1890 by Sir Henry Parkes.
Since being by-passed by the Hume Highway the town has settled down as an up-market tourist destination, about 90 minutes drive from the Sydney CBD.   AS well as filling the main street all the off-road car parks seemed full.
This grand building is the Court House.  A very well built structure, with the sandstone blocks fitting together almost as well as the Inca temples in Peru.  (I suspect the folk building this didn't have to shift the blocks by hand across a few mountain ranges.)  It is interesting how often Courts are the biggest and most flamboyant building in an area: Sir Garfield Barwick was only following a long tradition with the opulence of the High Court in Canberra!
In a burst of efficiency the Court is close to the Gaol.
The current status of the Gaol is interesting as there are many signs out the front threatening all sorts of dire consequences if people attempt to go inside as it is stated to be still in full operation.   However we spoke to a local who said that the Government had closed the place (after a brief period housing 60 young females, whose institution in Sydney was being refurbished) but they were refusing to allow it to be transformed to a tourist attraction.  He claimed to have spoken to 800 people in the street and all were in favour of that change.

We left a little money behind inn the town, having purchased  a couple of pottery mugs, an interesting looking fuschia and a pie each.  It is an interesting aspect of village politics that neither the pie shop nor the nursery get a mention on the official online map!

We then passed through Moss Vale - which seems to be be developing as a commercial centre - and took the tourist route to Exeter.  Here we found the recreation area with a stone gatepost honouring veterans.
Unlike Berrima, where dogs seemed to be both welcome and numerous, the sign suggests that Exeter was an enclave of canophobia.  The lower right image fascinates me: it seems to suggest a ban on dogs taking a dump, whereas what they are trying to do is get folk to do a post-hoc pick up.
Again they seem to have had a good roll up on the 25th.
Throughout the area we saw many signs suggesting Shoo Cockatoo and "Say NO to POSCO".  I didn't mange to get a photo of them but this small one in Bundanoon highlights a key issue.
The Post Office in Bundanoon had an interesting banner, presumably erected for ANZAC Day.  When clicked you should be able to read the number of Australians killed in various conflicts - the entry for Afghanistan appeared to be editable.  This is just across the road from the War Memorial (see below).

There seemed to have been a bike race in the area finishing just out of the town.  Many of the riders appeared to be heading for the station to go home.  The local bike shop - close to the station - displayed an interesting mural covering both the cyclist attributes and a Scots heritage.
We wandered briefly in the graveyard of a small church.  For some reason it seemed quite an attractive place: perhaps the manicured nature of the grass and close bushes interacted well with the old stones?
There were several stone carvings displayed around the town.  This sample is a Gang-gang.
Here is the main street complete with passing cyclists.
Overall the town seemed very prosperous with many large properties on the outskirts.  The question that arises is what do the people do for a living?  My estimate is that at peak hour it would take at least 2 hours to drive to the Sydney CBD and probably close to an hour to the edge of the metropolitan area.  I had thought about taking the train, but from Bundannoon that is 3.5 hours to Central, and I can't see adding 8 hours per day commuting makes any sense whatsoever.

We were told that Berrima is a relatively dry area (and very cold).  Judging by the density of the roadside vegetation things have got damper by Bundanoon!
On the way back to the Hume Highway we  kept our eye open for potential new War Memorials.  This was not a War Memorial but honouring a fire fighter who died on duty.
To vary the scenery we cam back along Lake George, which is getting close to dry again.  Although not evident in this image the turbines were spinning again!

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