Friday, 24 May 2013

Albury trip Day 3 Getting into the Deep South

That is possibly a less confusing title than references to Mexico (ie South of the Border) which is often used as a code for the State of Victoria.  Or possibly not.

In fact we got across the border a couple of times today.  The first occasion was on the early dog walk along part of the Hume and Hovell track.
I am unsure how respectful it is to depict 2 of Australia's major explorers as a pair of demented gnomes.  It is always possible that this is a representation of modern walkers, in which case the depiction is probably fair enough.

After going through Noreuil Park (named after a WW1 battlefield in France),
enjoying the Autumn colours
we took the bridge across to the Southern State.  Balls were evident.
So we returned home,
got our kit and headed off, hurdling the big pile of plane leaves on the opposite side of the street.
The first stop was the Wonga Wetlands just on the outskirts of Albury.  This was for birding.  As I sort of expected it was canophobic, so Tammie and Frances stayed in the car while I did a 30 minute foray.  Major issues were that the area closest to the car park was
1.                  Devoted more to indigenous culture than wetlands wildlife; and
2.                  Manicured to bowling green standard.
A third issue was that many parts were very short of liquid.  It would probably also be good to visit out of school time as one hide was occupied by about 20 kiddies.  (I reckon it is a Good Thing to expose kiddies to nature but said exposure contraindicates a relaxing time for any other user of the area.)  However I added a few species to the trip list and a Peregrine checking out the reaction times of the Teal is always an impressive sight.

We progressed on down the Riverina Highway and noticed a sign to Bungowannah.  This is mentioned on the Register of War Memorials, but I hadn't found it on a map.   That possibly reflects it being a locality rather than a town.  The War Memorial is in a cemetery but there is no other indication of a centre.

You will observe that the grass in the Cemetery was severely trimmed.  Reasons for this could include:
1.                  A new personality disorder Compulsive Mowing Syndrome; or
2.                  Drought and frost; or
3.                  A local farmer taking advantage of a hectare of free grazing; or
4.                  Feral rabbits or goats.
As before, votes are welcome but my money is again on #3.

The Lutherans were not evident here, but there seemed to be a Scots, via South Australia, presence in the area.
On to Howlong.  Compared to the spots we visited on the previous day this was quite a large town at 2551 population.   It seemed quite a modern town although some of the older buildings shows that it had a history.

We paused for a pie and moved right along.

The next town was Corowa.  I don't know the population of the place but it was rather large.  Almost the first thing we saw was a large War Memorial, which will be added to the Register as soon as we get home (and finish doing this blog post).
The main street was well endowed with old buildings – many of which were pubs - which the local boosters had formed into a Federation Walk, since the town appears to have have been a focus of moves towards forming the nation of Australia.

 Surprisingly from what we have seen in other areas the PO was not for sale.
There is a very helpful display about this at the Municipal Offices/Visitors Centre.  It also references Tom Roberts painting (created nearby.
this is sometimes referred to as "Ramming the Shears".

All the churches were in one area, as is often the case.  Again reflecting situation normal, the Catholic Church
was open for inspection (and probably prayer)
while the others were all locked up.  I will have to have a conversation with someone about the reasons for this.  (My suspicion is that it relies on fear of nuns as a security service.)

A nice lady in the Visitors Centre explained that Brolgas were always in the area.  Having taken a photo of the sculpture – and always being happy to see Native Companions in the feather – we had a brief, and unsuccessful hunt for them.

Our overall assessment was that Corowa was doing OK.  It isn't as well done up as some of the towns on the Tablelands we have visited but there was no feeling of it dying.

We then crossed the River heading for Rutherglen and specifically Chambers Winery. I had visited there in the past and it seemed like the sort of place where the wine was good and the atmosphere is also excellent.

A largish group were doing a winery tour which appeared to be led by Mr Chambers himself, in maroon sweater,
but they didn't impact on our activities.  We got helpful advice from the guy in charge of the servery and ended up acquiring 4 cases of wine (Beauty's boot is large, but we felt obliged to leave room for our luggage).
A great visit and, at the prices they charge, 
very good value.  Possibly the best thing about the place was the age of some of the wines.  One of those we acquired was 2004 and the youngest red they offered was 2010!  Most “business like” wineries are flogging 2012 shiraz with 2010 being seen as a Museum wine

On getting home I headed to the library to check my emails which was done successfully.  The place was very busy with folk using the WiFi service and a lot of kids using it for homework purposes.  There were also a group of Tibetan monks just inside the library, selling a little merchandise and constructing a sand mandala.  Unfortunately I didn't have my camera.

I didn't want to open a bottle of Chambers tonight so to top up the remains of a bottle opened the previous night I went to acquire some beer.  This turned out to be a challenge as the only liquor stores in the CBD were up the far end of Dean St.  Eventually someone told me that there was a bottle shop in the Commercial Club and they did provide a couple of stubbies of Coopers.  That was good, although the vast array of gambling machines one had to walk past was a serious worry: this place, like most other clubs must have great trouble with the first word of the phrase 'responsible gambling'.  

Links to rest of trip
Day 1
Day 2
Day 4

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